This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 04, 2011

DOE Invests $20 Million in U.S. Solar Manufacturing and Advanced Photovoltaic Technologies

As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, DOE is investing up to $20.3 million in innovative projects to strengthen the U.S. solar manufacturing industry, improve manufacturing efficiencies, and reduce costs. This includes support for companies across the solar energy supply chain, including U.S. material and tool suppliers and companies that are developing technologies that can be adopted directly into current manufacturing processes.

The award recipients are pursuing projects that focus on technology improvements that will lead to improved solar cell efficiency, reduced production costs, and a stronger domestic photovoltaic (PV) industry.

The projects selected include:

1366 Technologies ($3 million, Lexington, Massachusetts): The goal of this project is to further develop a new, manufacturing process that dramatically reduces the cost of producing silicon wafers for use in silicon PV modules. The Direct Wafer process delivers significant improvements in manufacturing efficiency since it does not require sawing individual wafers from blocks of silicon.

3M ($4.4 million, St. Paul, Minnesota): The goal of this project is to develop and commercialize a flexible, highly transparent Ultra Barrier Topsheet that will enable successful commercialization of flexible photovoltaic modules.

PPG ($3.1 million, Cheswick, Pennsylvania): The goal of this project is to develop the materials, coating designs, and manufacturing processes necessary to commercialize a new glass article for the Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) module manufacturing industry.

Varian Semiconductor ($4.8 million, Gloucester, Massachusetts): The goal of this project is to reduce the cost of manufacturing interdigitated back contact cells, the most efficient silicon solar cells on the market.

Veeco ($4.8 million, Lowell, Massachusetts): The goal of this project is to accelerate the research and development, integration and commercialization of an innovative thin film CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Diselenide) PV multi-stage thermal deposition production system in order to manufacture cost-efficient CIGS PV solar cells.

Final funding amounts are subject to negotiation.

The Solar Energy Technologies Program focuses on developing cost-effective solar energy technologies, for more information please see solar.energy.gov.

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