A collaborative initiative for research, development, and commercialization integrating the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), photovoltaic (PV) equipment suppliers, materials providers, and solar cell manufacturers is the key to producing more efficient, less costly PV technologies and accelerating their use in both residential and commercial markets, according to leaders of the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC) speaking at Intersolar North America 2011 in San Francisco, CA.
PVMC, headquartered in New York State, represents a more than $300 million partnership between the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany and SEMATECH, created as part of DOE's SunShot initiative, which is designed to reduce the cost of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75 percent over the next decade. The consortium has already enlisted over 40 corporate partners throughout the solar community, and continues to expand.
Through PVMC, CNSE and SEMATECH are spearheading a unique research, development, and commercialization partnership in which industry, academia and government are working together to drive new advances in next-generation solar cell technologies, beginning with copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film PV manufacturing solutions – increasing performance while driving down the cost and risk of bringing them to the marketplace.
Dan Armbrust, President and CEO, SEMATECH and PVMC, said, "By engaging the entire supply chain, from equipment and materials suppliers to manufacturers, SEMATECH and CNSE are establishing a new model for the solar industry that will enable more efficient PV technologies while driving down the costs of production. In the same way the semiconductor industry has benefitted from this collaborative approach to research, development and manufacturing, PVMC will fuel exciting opportunities, reducing costs to consumers and creating new jobs and investment in the high-tech sector."
Dr. Pradeep Haldar, CNSE Vice President for Clean Energy Programs, CNSE Professor and Head of Nanoeconomics, and Chief Technology Officer of PVMC, said, "The U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium brings together, for the first time, the critical partners that are necessary to jump-start the development and integration of the innovative solar energy technologies of the 21st century. Through this groundbreaking collaboration, CNSE and SEMATECH are poised to lead the national effort to develop more efficient solar cells that are less costly to manufacture, increasing their use in homes and businesses across the country."
Armbrust delivered a keynote presentation at the Second North American PV Fab Managers Forum on July 11 entitled, "Introduction to the PVMC in Support of the DOE Manufacturing Initiative." Haldar is a featured speaker at two forums, presenting "Department of Energy PV Manufacturing Initiative — A Path Toward Supply Chain Collaboration in the U.S." on July 12 and "Economic Development Opportunities – Working with Federal, State and Local Government" on July 13.
Established in 2008, the Intersolar North America exhibition and conference have developed into the premier platform for the solar industry in North America, focusing on photovoltaics and solar thermal technology. The public presentations provided PVMC leaders an opportunity to address solar suppliers, researchers, scientists, policy makers and key industry stakeholders on the importance of a collaborative supply chain in the U.S.