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NREL and Solarex Partner to Expand Development of Solar Technology

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Golden, Colo., August 12, 1997 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Solarex of Frederick, Md. to conduct further research on thin film photovoltaic modules.

The agreement is designed to combine the expertise and capabilities of the laboratory and the company. It will focus on increasing the size of Solarex's tandem junction modules from the 4 sq. ft. size used in prototypes to 8.6 sq. ft. commercial products. Solarex will use the research results in its new thin film manufacturing plant in Virginia. The plant, called TF1, is capable of annually producing 10 megawatts of tandem junction thin film modules.

The 24-month partnership will focus on the development of amorphous silicon tandem modules for use in building integrated photovoltaic applications, solar farms (power plants for electricity produced from sunlight) and more traditional remote habitation applications. Thin film photovoltaic modules are constructed by applying extremely thin layers of light-sensitive semiconductor material to a low-cost backing.

According to Dr. Harvey Forest, Solarex president and CEO, "this partnership is an excellent example of how industry and the government can work together to develop commercial products that will not only create U.S. jobs but will also improve the quality of life worldwide."

Solarex, a business unit of Amoco/Enron Solar, is the largest U.S. owned manufacturer of photovoltaic modules.

For more information on the agreement, contact Roland Hulstrom at (303) 384-6420.