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DOE funds advanced solar PV technologies

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has provided funding of $20 million for the development of photovoltaic solar perovskite technologies.

Perovskites are a class of materials with a particular structure of crystals, named after the structure of the mineral.

These have shown promise for high efficiency and low cost of production when used for producing solar cells. In order to be competitive on the marketplace, the long-term durability of perovskite needs to be checked and confirmed, the purpose of this announcement of funding potential through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) of DOE.

“Under this Administration, the Department of Energy is committed to an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, including solar and other renewable technologies. We will continue to invest in early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability, and value of solar technologies on the grid and position the United States as the world’s leading manufacturer of clean energy technologies.”

Dan Brouillette, U.S. Secretary of Energy.

“Perovskites are a promising solar technology that could help us reach the next level of innovative and efficient solar power. Our goal is to further advance this technology here in the United States. The research and development supported by this $20 million investment will help us better understand how perovskite solar cells, which can be manufactured quickly, can further this mission.”

Mark W. Menezes, deputy secretary of Energy.

Some of the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office ‘s goals are to enhance understanding of perovskite stability; build methods for producing high-efficiency, stable perovskite devices using industry-relevant manufacturing techniques; and to develop test protocols that allow high confidence in the performance of photovoltaic technologies based on perovskite in the long term sector.

DOE will fund projects in three topic areas:

Topic Area 1: Device R&D (Efficiency and Stability)

This subject will concentrate on research projects to advance perovskite efficiency and stability beyond the current state of the art technology, on the cell or mini-module scale.

Projects can include intrinsic and extrinsic strategies to improve reliability, methods for recognizing and characterizing degradation, alternative materials or processes for performance enhancement or cost reduction, and advanced computer design, including tandems.

Teams may be led by academics, the DOE National Laboratory, or industry experts, and should involve diverse research and development ( R&D) group members to optimize the usefulness and use of findings.

Topic Area 2: Manufacturing R&D

This subject field will finance research projects to tackle problems with appropriate scale and throughput to manufacturing perovskite modules. Main areas may include process uniformity and repeatability, losses of conversion by cell to module, and approaches to encapsulation.

Teams must be headed by a for-profit or non-profit organization and should include significant input from existing manufacturing and process engineering institutions with demonstrated expertise in the field.

Topic Area 3: Validation and Bankability Center

This topic area aims to create a neutral, independent validation center that can be used to verify performance of perovskite devices and tackle the challenges of acceptance and bankability.

It needs freedom and transparency to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest between this initiative and other initiatives that aim to demonstrate high-performance tools.

This center will be responsible for designing and improving research procedures, including accelerated life tests that closely correlate with long-term success on the ground.

Nedim Husomanovic

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