Siva Power picks up SunShot grant to pursue hugely ambitious plans

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot grant of $3 million will be used by Siva Power to develop its CIGS co-evaporation deposition process. The firm says it can achieve 12 times higher manufacturing throughput than is currently available. Through this, Siva says it hopes to develop an automated deposition process that results in a three times reduction in Capex, labor and overhead costs/W.

Siva hopes to build a single line of 300 MW – a feat the firm claims would make it the largest single line globally.

"This award will help us scale our proprietary co-evaporation process to build a 300 MW production line, about ten times the output of typical solar production lines,” said Brad Mattson, Siva Power CEO. “That ten times advantage is the key to reducing costs, enabling Siva Power to beat the ambitious SunShot targets and to do it ahead of schedule."

The SunShot program awards funding after a review process involving DOE scientists and PV professionals. In saying that, Siva Power’s plans for manufacturing cost reductions are startling ambitious. A good number of U.S. thin film and specifically CIGS startups have been unsuccessful in taking their high-potential technology to scale. These include MiaSolé, Global Solar and most spectacularly Solyndra.

At present the largest global CIGS manufacturer is Japan’s Solar Frontier, which pv magazine understands has a target of shipping 950 MW globally in 2015.

"We look forward to continuing a research partnership with Siva Power as part of the Energy Department’s SunShot Solar Manufacturing Technology program," said Dan Arvizu, Director of the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "CIGS cell efficiency has risen to nearly 22 percent, and this is an opportune time for companies to accelerate commercialization efforts in the U.S."

The February edition of pv magazine will include a feature article on CIGS leader Solar Frontier.