New US solar research facility awarded USD$6 million


Set to be located in the Midland area, Dow Corning, a cooperative venture with Hemlock Semiconductor in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Lab, was awarded the grant.

According to Acore, the American council on renewable energy, the center will coordinate a regional cluster of private sector companies, academic institutions and government labs to “speed innovation and commercialization” in the photovoltaics (PV) value chain.

The University of Michigan’s Energy Frontiers Research Center will reportedly contribute PV research, whilst it has been said Saginaw Valley State will furnish testing facilities and Delta College will provide worker training. The University of Toledo and Georgia Institute of Technology will also contribute research.

The project, said Acore, is contingent upon funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to be announced early next year. It explained that the project plan calls for a USD$116.5 million investment in a center for research in both thin film and crystalline PV: Dow Corning has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for a USD$47.5 million grant, while Saginaw Future has coordinated letters from the region to support the effort.

The council added that Dow Corning, Hemlock Semiconductor and the University of Toledo will each invest USD$6 million into the SVRE.

It went on to explain that the SVRE will use an “open, collaborative model” to recruit partners from other parts of the PV value chain and will be anchored in two Midwest hubs: one in the Great Lakes Bay Region and one at the University of Toledo’s Photovoltaic Innovation Center.

Dow Corning’s goal is to reportedly accelerate innovation, reduce manufacturing costs, improve reliability and speed grid parity for PV systems. It is also hoped that the testing and certification facilities at SVRE will help attract new manufacturers and expand Michigan’s PV value chain.

“Michigan is acting boldly to be the state that develops the technologies, manufactures the products and creates the green jobs that will establish us as the clean energy manufacturing capital of North America,” commented Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.