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NREL Collaborating with Spire to Develop Solar Cells with 42% Efficiency

July 7, 2009

NREL has granted a Photovoltaic (PV) Technology Incubator Award to Spire Semiconductor. The award led to an 18-month contract between the two organizations, specifying that the company collaborate with NREL to develop a triple junction solar concentrator cell with 42% efficiency.

Under the contract, Spire Semiconductor will receive $3,706,359. Of that, $2,960,850 is Department of Energy (DOE) funding, and $745,509 is a cost-share portion. Martha Symko-Davies and Brian Keyes, of the National Center for Photovoltaics, are managing the project.

Spire Semiconductor says it intends to use its "new growth technique" in the quest to produce concentrator cells with record-level efficiencies, lower manufacturing costs, and higher reliability. The company wants to develop the high-efficiency cell to capitalize on the growing market opportunity for custom gallium-arsenide-based solar cells for concentrator photovoltaic systems.

The PV Incubator program fosters partnerships between NREL and private industry to speed up the process of getting new renewable energy technologies on the market. The focus is on high-impact areas that are critical to scaling-up the technology.

"By partnering with NREL experts, the companies are able to use the lab's capabilities which reduces project implementation risk, quickly overcomes R&D hurdles, and increases the likelihood that the performance and reliability objectives can be achieved," Symko-Davies says.

 

For more information about the PV Technology Incubator Program and its request for proposals, read the NREL June 9, 2009, news release.