Ascent Solar Technologies nets DOE funding for thin-film, CIGS solar cell development

Ascent Solar Technologies

Thin-film photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Ascent Solar Technologies has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for two exclusive development projects. As part of the awards, worth up to $100,000 each, Ascent Solar is to work toward commercialization of sputtered Zn(O,S) buffers in flexible CIGS solar cells and also development of next-generation, high-efficiency Perovskite/CIGS Tandems cell. These projects are part of Ascent Solar’s plans for next-generation lightweight and flexible solar cells.

The first project will utilize sputtered Zn(O,S) buffers, which will help reduce costs and would further improve the environmental friendliness of our CIGS manufacturing process. The Perovskite/CIGS tandem junction project is designed to significantly improve efficiencies and drive further cost reduction by enabling a more complete conversion of the solar spectral energy into electricity.

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“These are challenging yet exciting projects,” says Dr. Lawrence Woods, Director and Head of Research & Development for Ascent Solar. “While there are challenges to be overcome with the use of perovskite based devices, with already proven high-efficiencies, we believe that Ascent Solar is well positioned to incorporate these materials into our large-scale roll-to-roll processing.”

“We are honored to be the only PV developer and manufacturer to have been selected for the TCF projects, let alone two projects selected at the same time. This is a strong testament to the DOE’s faith in our ability to once again demonstrate our ‘lab-to-fab’ expertise,” says Dr. Joseph Armstrong, Chief Technology Officer and founding member of Ascent Solar Ascent Solar. “In both cases, we are leveraging our significant intellectual property with flexible monolithically integrated CIGS and teaming with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to inject their substantial knowledge in novel advanced materials to create a potentially substantial leap in the advancement of our product.”

The Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) and Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to promote promising energy technologies. The TCF selections announced on August 23, 2018, will expand the DOE’s efforts to catalyze the commercial impact of the Department’s portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities. TCF funds require a 50 percent match of non-federal funds from private partners.

— Solar Builder magazine

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