- US DOE has revealed a list of winners of its $45 million funding under SETO FY 21
- The award winners were selected under 3 categories including to advance solar manufacturing
- Silfab Solar’s aluminium backsheet and copper-based metallization paste projects have made the cut
- In other categories, projects on software, hardware and grid integration technologies have been selected for funding
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the winners of $45 million in funding under the Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2021 (SETO FY21), comprising $14 million awarded to efforts accelerating commercialization of American-made solar innovations.
Solar manufacturing projects are covered under Topic Area 3 which includes a $1 million DOE award to Bert Thin Films that has developed a lower-cost, copper-based front side metallization paste that’s screen-printable and does away with silver. The project will focus on de-risking the paste and shows its manufacturability.
Silfab Solar from Canada, but also manufacturing in the US, has won $3 million from the DOE for a project it is developing with SunFlex Solar to replace existing copper backsheets with low-cost aluminum backsheets for silicon modules. The duo will develop processes and supply chain to install and ramp up a manufacturing line in Bellingham, Washington to demonstrate 1,000 modules with more than 25% average efficiency.
With the help of $700,000 funding, Silfab Solar will also work on a non-contact electroluminescence (EL) inspection tool developed by Tau Science before cell-to-cell interconnection and module lamination. Through this, the company is working to enable early and easy inspection for electrical and mechanical defects.
AccuSolar is working with Nhu Energy on a new racking system and advance manufacturing for floating solar PV systems with an aim to lower the cost of floating solar ‘so that it’s similar to or less than’ ground mounted solar systems.
These projects will share the $14 million grant with 5 other solar hardware and innovative projects to accelerate the pace of their commercialization, with an aim to lower the cost of solar technologies and integrate it into the national grid.
The other part of the funding amount of $31 million has been awarded to projects that further grid integration technology and rooftop solar hardware and system design efforts.
Details of all the winning projects are available on the DOE’s website.
“The universities, small businesses, and national lab behind these projects are building the critical components of America’s future grid, making it more resilient on our way to a 100% clean power system,” said Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm.
In June 2021, the DOE announced a $5 million prize for hardware and software development to support US solar manufacturing under American-Made Solar Prize Round 5 (see $5 Million DOE Prize For Solar Energy Deployment).
Under the Joe Biden administration, the DOE is targeting to cut the cost of solar energy for utility scale solar to $0.02 per kWh by 2030 (see US Aims To Cut Solar Energy Costs By 60% By 2030).