GreenVolts, DOE Work to Bring High Efficiency, Low Cost Solar Cell to Market


Last year, the US Department of Energy landed in the news when it set a world record in solar cell efficiency with a photovoltaic device that converts 40.8 percent of all light that hits it into solar energy using concentrated solar technology. The DOE captured the record thanks to lenses that concentrate sunlight onto an inverted metamorphic triple-junction (IMM) solar cell that uses two new semiconductor materials–gallium indium arsenide and gallium indium phosphide. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany has since bested the record with a 41.1 percent efficiency claim, but the DOE inched closer to production of its solar cell yesterday by teaming up with San Francisco solar startup GreenVolts.

The DOE and GreenVolts will contribute $500,000 each to the solar cell commercialization project, with GreenVolts agreeing to bring the DOE’s concentrated solar power technology to market and sign a co-licensing agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The solar startup plans to use the DOE’s cash to figure out how to produce its cells at low cost and estimates that a final product will be ready within two years.

GreenVolts speculates that its IMM cells will be used to build systems that sit low to the ground–a design that lowers wind resistance and makes systems easy and cheap to install.

Other companies working in the rapidly-growing concentrated solar sector include SolFocus, Sopogy, and Ausra.

[Via Semiconductor Today]