SolarWorld to wins $4 million US grant for next-generation crystallization tech

The Department of Energy award is aimed at the development of crystallization technology for more efficient and affordable solar cells.

SolarWorld has received a $4 million cooperative award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to intensify development of a silicon mono-crystallization technology.

The proprietary development has demonstrated promise to sharply reduce costs in the production of silicon mono-crystals while increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic cells, SolarWorld said.

SolarWorld is already a leading producer of passive emitter rear contact (PERC) cell technology with multiple years of capacity-level production at its U.S. facility in Hillsboro, Oregon. “Mastering this technology has advanced the power of SolarWorld’s 60-cell PERC solar panels from 265 to 280 watts-peak so far,” the company said.

SolarWorld’s research in the $8 million next phase of its crystallization project, defrayed by the Energy Department’s $4 million match, will also take place at the company’s Hillsboro site, its headquarters for the Americas. The group said it would combine the project with other research and development there as well as at its SolarWorld Innovations research and development facility in Germany in order “to propel the company’s full-production module power density beyond a once-unimaginable milestone of 300 watts-peak.”

"We thank the Department of Energy for assisting us in our relentless drive to increase solar module power output while driving down costs to customers,” said Mukesh Dulani, SolarWorld’s U.S. president. “It will be an exciting time to watch the technologies that built this America-pioneered industry make way for technologies that will power a new magnitude of solar-technology adoption in the marketplace."