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

April 06, 2011

DOE to Award $112 Million in SunShot Projects to Advance PV Manufacturing

DOE announced on April 5 its selection of three recipients for up to $112.5 million in funding over five years to support the U.S. development of advanced manufacturing processes for solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. DOE's SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships will assist the solar power industry to overcome technical barriers and reduce costs for PV installations, help the United States regain the lead in the global market for solar technologies, and provide support for clean energy jobs. By engaging multiple companies across the PV supply chain, the SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships program is designed to have broad impact on the U.S. solar industry. Selected projects will create organizations designed to bring PV companies together in a coordinated environment to address common technology needs.

The selected projects are: the Bay Area PV Consortium (BAPVC)—managed by Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley—which will fund industry-relevant research and development to impact high-volume PV manufacturing using a competitive selection process open to all universities; SVTC Technologies in San Jose, California, which will create a fee-for-service PV Manufacturing Development Facility that will enable start-ups, materials suppliers, and other PV innovators to eliminate a major portion of their up-front capital and operating costs during product development and pilot production, with a focus on silicon solar cells; and the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium, managed by SEMATECH, will coordinate an industry-driven research and development initiative to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of next-generation copper indium gallium selenide, or CIGS, thin-film PV manufacturing technologies, driving down the cost and risk of bring them to market.

The investments are part of DOE's SunShot Initiative, which aims to reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75% so that they are cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies by the end of the decade. Achieving this goal, equivalent to approximately $1 a watt or roughly 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for utility systems, would allow solar energy systems to be broadly deployed across the country. See the DOE press release and the SunShot website.