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1 July 2008


AFRL awards Ascent $1.5m multi-junction PV contract

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has selected Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Littleton, CO, USA for a Broad Agency Announcement award to develop high-performance thin-film multi-junction photovoltaics (PV) based on the firm’s flexible monolithically integrated copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology. The new contract represents about $1.5m in value over a 48-month period.

Since 1995, AFRL has provided funding for the development of the flexible CIGS at ITN Energy Systems Inc and now at Ascent Solar (which was spun off from ITN in October 2005), including the development of aspects of future multi-junction devices. The top cell in this configuration collects the blue portion of the solar spectrum, the bottom cell collects the red portion, and cells in between collect the rest of the visible spectrum. This type of technology can result in higher performance and lower losses when translating from the small-area cell level to monolithically integrated modules.

“The program will support the continued development of our new multi-junction technology platform, from which we intend to proceed with multi-junction devices and prototype module demonstrations,” says chief technical officer Dr Joseph Armstrong. “Efficient conversion of the sun’s energy is very critical to space and near-space applications, in that higher efficiencies correlate to smaller, lighter-weight solar arrays, and significantly lower launch cost,” he adds. “The technology that we intend to develop under this new program should also benefit our terrestrial building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) applications, such as roofing tiles and building facades that operate at elevated temperatures.”

See related items:

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

Ascent Solar closes $61m public offering

Ascent Solar and Icopal cooperating on building-integrated PVs

Ascent to integrate CIGS PVs into roofing membranes for European market

Hydro raises stake in Ascent to 35%

Ascent’s 1.5MW PV production line enters operation

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