BEDFORD, Mass., June 27, 2003 — Spire Corp. announced that it has been awarded a $5.2 million cost-shared contract from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) to develop automated manufacturing processes for fabricating large-scale solar electric modules.
The three-year research and development contract will enhance Spire’s capabilities for building high-volume production equipment that can assemble solar modules as large as 10 feet by 8 feet or more than five times the size of today’s standard size module. NREL will fund one half of the cost-shared contract, or approximately $2.7 million, under the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Research and Development (PVMRD) program, and $2.5 million will be spent by Spire.
Roger G. Little, President and CEO of Spire Corporation, said, “This contract will enable our Spire Solar business to raise its core machine building skills to the next level. The equipment and technology that we plan to develop under this program will enable the building of super-sized modules, each generating as much as one kilowatt. It is a well-known fact that the larger the size of the module, the lower the overall cost of an installed photovoltaic system. We believe these new modules can be used to cover contaminated land sites with large utility-connected arrays to generate clean energy. Our objective is to show that it can be economically feasible to transform industrial brownfields into Solar Brightfields™. We see a big potential market for “Solar Breeder” factories, a term used for photovoltaic module assembly factories that will continuously produce these specialized modules for deployment in Solar Brightfields.”
About the PVMRD Program
A research and development partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. photovoltaic industry, PVMRD aims to help U.S. companies increase their international competitiveness by improving photovoltaic manufacturing processes and equipment and accelerating manufacturing cost reductions for photovoltaic modules. Spire’s initial 1998 PVMRD contract, now completed, resulted in the development of several types of automated PV assembly equipment suitable for use with crystalline-silicon solar cells or thin-film solar-cell laminates.
About Spire Corporation
Spire Corporation consists of three wholly owned subsidiaries, all based upon a common technology platform. Spire Solar, Inc. provides solar electric module manufacturing equipment and produces and sells solar energy systems. Spire Biomedical, Inc. provides processing services to improve the performance of implantable medical devices and markets specialty catheters. Spire Biophotonics Lifesciences develops biomedical instrumentation and includes Bandwidth Semiconductor, LLC, a compound semiconductor foundry providing epitaxial wafers and device fabrication services to defense, telecommunications and biomedical instrument customers. For more information, please visit www.spirecorp.com.