DOE To Provide $12m To Support Solar Technologies

The US Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will invest up to

NREL collaborates with companies that have developed new solar cell technologies to help move the technologies to commercial scale manufacturing. The partnerships are expected to support DOE's goal of making solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.

NREL will invest in four companies: Alta Devices, Solar Junction Corp, TetraSun and Semprius, providing guidance and technical assistance to help the companies overcome challenges common to small scale and pilot manufacturing. Companies awarded under the DOE's Photovoltaic (PV) Incubator Programme will work closely with NREL to move prototype and pre-commercial photovoltaic technologies into pilot and full-scale manufacturing.

The anticipated subcontracts, up to $3m each, will be awarded as 18-month phased subcontracts with payment made on completion of project milestones. The partnership projects are subject to negotiation.

Steven Chu, secretary of the DOE, said: "These projects will help move novel technologies to commercial scale and ensure that the US is a world leader in next-generation, cost-effective solar technologies. These solar photovoltaic incubator awards will help accelerate the pace of innovation for these start-up companies to bring their technologies to market."