US Issues RFP For CdTe Technology Development

NREL Invites CdTe Research & Development Proposals From Small Projects For $2 Million New Funding Round

US Issues RFP For CdTe Technology Development

CTAC includes America’s leading CdTe module manufacturer First Solar. (Photo Credit: First Solar, Inc.)

  • NREL has opened a new solicitation round to support small CdTe R&D projects in the US 
  • Winning projects will be eligible to win $75,000 to $150,000/year out of the $2 million funding 
  • CTAC will select proposals under 3 defined topic areas, including enhancing the domestic supply chain 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the US has launched a new solicitation round to seek proposals for small projects to accelerate cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology development. The government sees CdTe as an opportunity to enhance the country’s competitiveness in solar PV manufacturing. 

Projects will be selected by the CdTe Accelerator Consortium (CTAC) comprising the University of Toledo, First Solar, Colorado State University, Toledo Solar and Sivavnanthan Laboratories. Both First Solar and Toledo Solar are leading CdTe module manufacturers in the US. 

For the latest round, NREL aims to select between 4 and 10 awards with a single project standing to win anywhere between $75,000 and $150,000/year. The maximum funding for this round will not exceed $2 million out of the $20 million earmarked by the US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to speed up solar deployment and lower costs. 

Proposals will be admitted for the following 3 topic areas:  

  • High efficiency devices and new manufacturing processes 
  • Characterization, modeling and simulation, and 
  • Enhancing the domestic CdTe supply chain. 

Funding will be available for research and development purpose alone, and not for purchase of capital equipment. Project duration will be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of up to 2 years. 

Launched on March 18, 2024, the solicitation round with notice ID RFX-2024-10015 will remain open to bidders till April 29, 2024. Further details are available on the US government General Services Administration website

CdTe solar cells do not use crystalline silicon, which is a prerequisite for the current workhorse PERC and also for the newer technologies like TOPCon, heterojunction (HJT) and interdigitated back contact (IBC) cells. China is a market leader for the supply of this critical raw material, but the US wants to become self-sufficient in its solar supply chain, hence the focus on silicon-free solar cell technology. 

By selecting promising projects under this initiative, CTAC will help accelerate the development of cheaper and more efficient CdTe solar cells to enable cell efficiencies above 24% and module costs below $0.20/W by 2025. 

The overarching target is to exceed cell efficiencies of 26% while bringing down module costs below $0.15/W by 2030. 

In the previous CTAC round concluded in June 2023, NREL selected 6 research projects and also launched an RFP round under notice ID RFX-2023-10202 to back additional CdTe research efforts (see CTAC Initiative Gets $2 Million Support). 

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Senior News Editor: Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. --Email : [email protected] --

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