University of Delaware gets $7 million for solar research

The U.S. Department of Energy awards solar research funding to UD researchers looking into ways of increasing efficiency and lowering costs for solar power.

The money comes from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, which has a goal of reducing the costs of solar power by 75 percent within the next ten years.  

Delaware’s Congressional delegation, including Senator Tom Carper (D) announced the funding this afternoon.  “Advancements in solar energy and other renewable energy technologies reduce harmful pollutants, lead to healthier lives, lower our energy costs, and create American jobs that produce clean energy equipment stamped ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ to sell here and export around the world.”  

The research funding will be spread around five separate areas at UD:

– $3,300,000 will fund research of high-efficiency, silicon-based PV cells using thin-silicon wafers produced via high-speed laser processing. Increasing the speed of production, or throughput, will reduce the cost of the PV cell.

– $1,167,147 will fund research ultra-thin, CIGS PV cells based on a superstrate design. An improved superstrate (i.e., the layer on the sun-facing side of the cell) will allow the maximum transition of the sun’s energy into the cell and increase its efficiency.

– $1,200,000 for a project that will advance processing technologies in CIGS PV. These advances will create improvements in manufacturing and increase solar cell efficiency.

– $960,000 to research the effects of sodium in CIGS PV cells.

– $1,278,110 to develop new low-symmetry gratings for next-generation, thin crystalline silicon and CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) PV cells.

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