US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced earlier this week the earmarking of $112.5 million to support the development of advanced solar photovoltaic manufacturing over the next five years.
The SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships programme is aimed at helping manufacturers reduce the costs of photovoltaic installations.
Modelled in part on SEMATECH, which was set up to help US semiconductor manufacturers improve their capabilities and keep pace with competitors, the SunShot Initiative aims to reduce the cost of photovoltaic systems by around 75% to reach the holy grail of $1 a watt.
Projects funded under the initiative will create organisations that bring manufacturers together to tackle common technology problems. The facilities established in the course of the projects will provide services and tools for photovoltaic manufacturers and their suppliers. The programme will also bring together universities and national labs with photovoltaic manufacturers, as well as materials and equipment suppliers.
The first projects to be funded include two $25 million efforts, one based in San Francisco at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley to look at new materials and device structures and a second to set up a manufacturing development facility for start-ups, suppliers and others.
The third project, which will receive $62.5 million, will see a photovoltaic manufacturing consortium (PVMC) be set up and managed by SEMATECH. The PVMC, which will work with the State University of New York at Albany and the University of Central Florida, will coordinate research and development to accelerate the development of next generation devices.
“The SunShot Initiative will not only keep the US at the forefront in solar energy research and development, but will help us win the worldwide race to build a solar manufacturing industry that produces solar systems that are cost competitive with fossil fuels,” said Energy Secretary Chu.
For further information:
Florida energy company opens hybrid solar energy plant (9-Mar)
US invests $27 million in reducing the cost of solar power (7-Feb)
Early stage solar technologies to get $12 million boost (12-Jan 2010)
08 April 2011