U.S. DOE allocates $168 mln for 13 solar energy projects

9 March 2007 — U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of 13 industry-led solar technology development projects for negotiation for up to $168 million in funding, subject to appropriation from Congress. Funding would be during the 2007-2009 fiscal years.

As part of the cost-shared agreements, the industry-led teams will contribute more than 50 percent of the funding for these projects for a total value of up to $357 million over three years. The Solar America Initiative aims to bring down the cost of solar energy to make it competitive with conventional electricity sources in the U.S. by 2015.

The projects announced will enable the projected expansion of the annual U.S. manufacturing capacity of PV systems from 240 MW in 2005 to as much as 2,850 MW by 2010, representing more than a ten-fold increase. DOE said the increase in capacity would reduce the cost of electricity produced by PV from current levels of $0.18-$0.23 per kWh to $0.05 – $0.10 per kWh by 2015.

Teams Selected For Negotiations under the Solar America Initiative

  • Amonix — A low-cost, high-concentration PV system for utility markets. This project will focus on manufacturing technology for high-concentrating PV and on low-cost production using multi-bandgap cells.

  • Boeing — High-efficiency concentrating photovoltaic power system. This project will focus on cell fabrication research that is expected to yield very high efficiency systems.

  • BP Solar — Low-cost approach to grid parity using crystalline silicon. This project’s research will focus on reducing wafer thickness while improving yield of multi-crystalline silicon PV for commercial and residential markets.

  • Dow Chemical — PV-integrated residential and commercial building solutions. This project will employ Dow’s expertise in encapsulates, adhesives, and high volume production to develop integrated PV-powered technologies for roofing products.

  • General Electric — A value chain partnership to accelerate U.S. PV growth. This project will develop various cell technologies � including a new bifacial, high-efficiency silicon cell that could be incorporated into systems solutions that can be demonstrated across the industry.

  • Greenray – Development of an AC module system. This team will design and develop a high-powered, ultra-high-efficiency solar module that contains an inverter, eliminating the need to install a separate inverter and facilitating installation by homeowners. Research will focus on increasing the lifetime of the inverter.

  • Konarka — Building-integrated organic photovoltaics. This project will focus on manufacturing research and product reliability assurance for extremely low-cost photovoltaic cells using organic dyes that convert sunlight to electricity.

  • Miasole — Low-cost, scalable, flexible PV systems with integrated electronics. This project will develop high-volume manufacturing technologies and PV component technologies. Research will focus on new types of flexible thin-film modules with integrated electronics and advances in technologies used for installation and maintenance.

  • Nanosolar — Low-cost, scaleable PV systems for commercial rooftops. This project will work on improved low-cost systems and components using back-contacted thin-film PV cells for commercial buildings. Research will focus on large-area module deposition, inverters, and mounting.

  • Powerlight – PV cell-independent effort to improve automated manufacturing systems. This project will focus on reducing non-cell costs by making innovations with automated design tools and with modules that include mounting hardware.

  • Practical Instruments – Low-concentration CPV systems for rooftop applications. This project will explore a novel concept for low-concentration optics to increase the output of rooftop PV systems. The project will also explore designs using multi-junction cells to allow for very high efficiency modules.

  • SunPower – Grid-competitive residential solar power generating systems. This project will research lower-cost ingot and wafer fabrication technologies, automated manufacture of back-contact cells, and new module designs, to lower costs.

  • United Solar Ovonic – Low-cost thin-film building-integrated PV systems. This project will focus on increasing the efficiency and deposition rate of multi-bandgap, flexible, thin-film photovoltaic cells and reducing the cost of inverters and balance-of-system components.

For more information on the solicitation and facts about the Solar America Initiative, visit: