Department of Energy launches $20 million initiative to spice up CdTe solar cell improvement


By Chris Crowell August 2, 2022 Ground-breaking of First Solar’s new facility in 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy is preserving the concentrate on thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells and modules with the launch of the Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium—a $20 million initiative designed to make cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells cheaper, extra environment friendly and develop new markets for solar cell merchandise.

The DOE sees the necessity to strengthen home solar manufacturing, and investing extra in CdTe R&D is a handy place to start out. CdTe solar cells had been first developed within the United States, and we’re nonetheless the principle producer, with Ohio-based First Solar main the way in which (however be careful for close by Toledo Solar). Building out home provide chain for silicon-based PV manufacturing can be massively mandatory however will want a a lot greater, long-term dedication (one thing QCells has laid out a street map for although).

“As solar continues its reign as one of the cheapest forms of energy powering our homes and businesses, we are committed to a solar future that is built by American workers,” mentioned U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE is proud to partner with leading solar researchers and companies to chart the future of CdTe technology, which presents an immense opportunity for domestic manufacturers to help ensure our nation’s security while providing family-sustaining jobs.”

The new Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium will work on continued value and effectivity enhancements that can make CdTe cheaper and extra environment friendly, and extra aggressive on the worldwide market.

To obtain these targets, the crew has a broad analysis plan that features CdTe doping methods, characterizing and exploring new CdTe contacting supplies, and work to allow a bifacial CdTe module that absorbs gentle from the back and front of the module.

DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will administer the consortium, whose leaders had been chosen by means of a aggressive solicitation NREL launched final 12 months. The consortium might be led by the University of Toledo, First Solar, Colorado State University, Toledo Solar Inc., and Sivananthan Laboratories, Inc.

“To move America forward, we need an all-of-the-above strategy that propels our energy independence, lowers costs, and creates good-paying jobs. Northern Ohio has already revolutionized the field of solar technology,” mentioned U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). Now, by means of this outstanding partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of Toledo, and First Solar – our area will turn into a hub of next-generation energy innovation that’s constructed proper right here at home by Ohio’s employees.”

“Our world requires scientific innovation to address the inefficient ways we find, produce and consume energy,” mentioned University of Toledo President Dr. Gregory Postel. “The University of Toledo is proud to help power the future by leading this consortium that leverages our expertise in solar energy research and commercialization and strengthens our partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and other leaders in this important and growing field.”

NREL will function a useful resource, assist, and technical evaluation middle because the consortium develops a know-how roadmap, conducts analysis to satisfy targets set inside the roadmap, and repeatedly assesses the home CdTe provide chain for challenges and alternatives. The consortium goals to develop home CdTe photovoltaic materials and module manufacturing, assist the home CdTe provide chain, and improve U.S. competitiveness.

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