By Renewable Energy Focus staff
The PV Technology Incubator program aims to advance the timeline and commercial potential of new manufacturing processes and solar photovoltaic (PV) products with potential for “dramatic price improvements.”
“The start-up companies awarded under the Incubator program will truly benefit the manufacturing processes and products in the United States through rapid commercialization of these innovative technologies,” says NREL Incubator Manager Martha Symko-Davies.
This is the fourth installment of the solar PV Incubator program, and the round has seen companies divided into two categories: Tier 1 – the development of commercially viable prototypes receiving up to US$1m over one year; and Tier 2 – the development and manufacturing scale-up of pilot-scale processes receiving up to US$4m over 1.5 years.
Tier 1 Projects (Subject to Negotiation):
- Caelux, Pasadena, CA: Developing a flexible solar cell manufacturing process and design which reduces production costs by minimizing the amount of semiconductor materials used at the same time as having the potential to surpass standard solar power device efficiency;
- Solexant, San Jose, CA: Developing a solar thin-film material comprised entirely of non-toxic and widely available materials such as copper, zinc, tin, selenide and/or sulfer. The devices will be made with a non-particle ink that can be printed and which could result in commercially viable efficiencies using scalable, low-cost processes; and
- Stion, San Jose, CA: Developing a thin-film technology allowing two high-efficiency solar thin-film devices to be stacked resulting in better absorption of light and creation of power.
Tier 2 Projects (Subject to Negotiation):
- Crystal Solar, Santa Clara, CA: Developing a technology for the fabrication, handling, processing and packaging of very thin single-crystal silicon solar wafers (four times thinner than standard solar cells). The process uses less silicon eliminating many of the wasteful and expensive wafer-processing steps, and addressing the problem of handling very thin solar wafers.