DoE Invests $13 Million to Drive Innovative U.S. Solar Energy (Concentrated Solar Power and Photovoltaic)

Abengoa Solar will demonstrate new manufacturing and assembly technologies for use in concentrating solar power (CSP) parabolic trough systems to achieve cost reduction.

Building on the 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.”
According to a new U.S. solar industry report , the U.S. solar market continues to grow – reaching record-breaking levels. In Q3 2013, the United States installed 930 megawatts of photovoltaic, up 20 percent over Q2 2013 and representing the second largest quarter in solar installations in U.S. history. Cumulatively, solar capacity has already surpassed 10 gigawatts and by the end of the year more than 400,000 solar projects will be operating across the country.
During President Obama’s first term, the United States more than doubled generation of electricity from wind, solar and geothermal sources. To ensure America’s continued leadership position in clean energy, the President has set a goal to double renewable electricity generation once again by 2020. As the cost of solar continues to fall and deployment expands, strong domestic manufacturing will help make solar technologies even more affordable, while giving more and more American families and businesses access to affordable, clean energy.
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. For example, Colorado-based Abengoa Solar will develop new methods to produce concentrating solar power trough systems, helping to lower overall production costs and support easy and quick on-site assembly. PPG Industries, headquartered in Pennsylvania, will lead a project to cut solar module manufacturing costs in half, while Georgia-based Suniva will develop a low-cost highly efficient silicon photovoltaic cell. Find more information about the projects awarded today HERE.
Broadly, the Energy Department investment announced today 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. Find additional information on these efforts as well as the Energy Department’s American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit in Washington, D.C. this week.


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.