DOE pledges $20 million to boost CdTe thin-film solar technology

The United States Department of Energy has Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium — a $20 million initiative to make cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells cheaper and more efficient and develop new markets for solar cell products. The new consortium was announced in northwestern Ohio, home to CdTe powerhouse First Solar and newcomer Toledo Solar.

“While solar continues to reign supreme as one of the cheapest forms of energy to power our homes and businesses, we are committed to a future of solar built by American workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer. M. Granholm. “DOE is proud to partner with leading solar researchers and companies to map out the future of CdTe technology, providing a huge opportunity for domestic manufacturers to help ensure the safety of our country while creating family support jobs. offer.”

“To move America forward, we need an all-in-one strategy that propels our energy independence, lowers costs and creates high-paying jobs. Northern Ohio has already revolutionized solar technology,” said US Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). “Now, through this remarkable partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of Toledo, and First Solar, our region will become a hub of next-generation energy innovation built right here at home by Ohio’s workers.”

The new Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium will work on continuous cost and efficiency improvements that will make CdTe cheaper, more efficient and more competitive in the global market. To achieve these goals, the team has a broad research plan that includes CdTe doping strategies, characterizing and exploring novel CdTe contact materials, and working on a bifacial CdTe module that absorbs light from the front and back of the module. . DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will manage the consortium, whose leaders were chosen through a competitive invitation issued by NREL last year. The consortium will be led by the University of Toledo, First Solar, Colorado State University, Toledo Solar and Sivananthan Laboratories.

NREL will serve as a resource, support and technical analysis center as the consortium develops a technology roadmap, conducts research to achieve the goals set in the roadmap, and regularly assesses the domestic CdTe supply chain for challenges and opportunities. The consortium aims to expand domestic CdTe production of photovoltaic materials and modules, support the domestic supply chain of CdTe and increase U.S. competitiveness.

DOs Solar Photovoltaic Supply Chain Assessment Report identified CdTe as an opportunity to expand domestic solar panel production, to the limit that allows the availability of CdTe material, with little risk of being overtaken by cheap foreign competition.

The FY22 Solar Power Production IncubatorThe funding opportunity, announced last month, will support projects that prepare new technologies and manufacturing processes for commercialization and demonstrate solutions that can boost domestic production of thin-film photovoltaic cells made from CdTe.

News item from DOE

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