Energy Department Invests $13 Million to Drive Innovative U.S. Solar Manufacturing

Energy Department Invests $13 Million to Drive Innovative U.S. Solar Manufacturing

Press Release: December 11, 2013 - Building on the U.S. Energy Department’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue U.S. leadership in clean energy innovation, the Department today announced over $13 million for five projects to strengthen domestic solar manufacturing and speed commercialization of efficient, affordable photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies. As part of the Department’s SunShot Initiative, these awards will help lower the cost of solar electricity, support a growing U.S. solar workforce and increase U.S. competitiveness in the global clean energy market.

“The strong, continued growth in the U.S. solar industry over the past few years is giving more and more Americans access to affordable clean energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We have a tremendous opportunity for American manufacturing to lead the global clean energy market and help pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”

Matched by over $14 million in private cost share, the Energy Department’s investment will help five companies in California, Colorado, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Oregon develop cost-effective manufacturing processes for photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies.

Broadly, the Energy Department investment will help drive affordable, efficient solar power in the United States and help industry partners meet the SunShot Initiative’s goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. These awards also support the Department’s broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative to increase the efficiency of the U.S. manufacturing sector and ensure that clean energy technologies continue to be made in America.

SolarMat

The SunShot Solar Manufacturing Technology (SolarMat) program supports five projects that focus on driving down the cost of manufacturing and implementing efficiency-increasing technology in manufacturing.   The SolarMat Awardees include:

Abengoa Solar

  • Location: Lakewood, CO
  • Amount: $1,943,463
  • Cost Share: $1,943,463
  • Project Summary: Abengoa Solar will demonstrate new manufacturing and assembly technologies for use in concentrating solar power (CSP) parabolic trough systems to achieve cost reduction and also to enable innovative technology to quickly enter the market. This project will focus on highly-automated manufacture of trough components, on-site assembly of the troughs at the solar field and improved quality control using automated inspection.

PPG Industries, Inc.

  • Location: Allison Park, PA
  • Amount: $2,148,729
  • Cost Share: $2,148,733
  • Project Summary: PPG Industries, Inc. will partner with Flextronics International, Inc. to design and pilot a rapid photovoltaic (PV) module assembly process that replaces labor-intensive steps with automation. This approach is expected to increase the rate of module production by a factor of four, cut capital costs in half, and reduce barriers delaying the implementation of next-generation PV technologies that increase module efficiency and reduce costs.

Solaria Corporation

  • Location: Fremont, CA
  • Amount: $2,007,474
  • Cost Share: $3,011,211
  • Project Summary: Solaria will cut costs for its low-concentration silicon PV module by automating manufacturing process steps. This removes a primary barrier to enabling Solaria's high-volume PV module manufacturing in the United States.

SolarWorld Industries America, Inc.

  • Location: Hillsboro, OR
  • Amount: $2,438,126
  • Cost Share: $2,461,316
  • Project Summary: SolarWorld will incorporate an advanced light management system into their PV modules that will achieve substantial efficiency improvements at little additional cost. The light management system reduces optical losses and represents a large, unrealized opportunity for module efficiency improvements. The proposed SolarWorld approach cost-effectively utilizes low-cost components implemented using highly automated robotic systems.

Suniva, Inc.

  • Location: Norcross, GA
  • Amount: 4,499,678
  • Cost Share: $4,918,986
  • Project Summary: Suniva Inc., in partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology, will deploy a low-cost highly efficient silicon PV cell technology that will reach the marketplace within three years and which meets the SunShot 2020 target of ≤ $0.50/W module cost. This effort will overcome cost and efficiency barriers through advances in PV science and technology innovation involving new process tools, resulting in pilot production of 21.5% efficient cells.