SolarWorld, the largest crystalline silicon solar producer in the Americas, received a $4 million cooperative award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to intensify development of a ground-breaking silicon mono- crystallization technology. The proprietary development has demonstrated promise to sharply reduce costs to produce silicon mono-crystals while increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic cells.
SolarWorld is a leader in producing PERC (passive emitter rear contact) cell technology with multiple years of capacity level production at its Hillsboro, Oregon facility. Mastering this technology has advanced the power of SolarWorld’s 60-cell PERC solar panels from 265 to 280 watts-peak so far.
Research in the $8 million next phase of SolarWorld’s crystallization project, defrayed by the Energy Department’s $4 million match, will take place at the company’s site in Hillsboro, Ore., its headquarters for the Americas. The project will combine with other research and development there and in the company’s R&D facility in Germany, SolarWorld Innovations, to propel the company’s full-production module power density beyond a once-unimaginable milestone of 300 watts-peak.
The SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.
“We thank the Department of Energy for assisting us in our relentless drive to increase solar module power output while driving down costs to customers,” said Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld. “It will be an exciting time to watch the technologies that built this America-pioneered industry make way for technologies that will power a new magnitude of solar-technology adoption in the marketplace.”
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.