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30 October 2009


VHESC awards Energy Focus extra $100,000 to develop spectrum-splitting solar module

Energy Focus Inc of Solon, OH, USA, which provides LED lighting and fiber-optic products, has entered into a $100,000, 12-month contract with the DuPont-University of Delaware Very High Efficiency Solar Cell (VHESC) consortium as part of solar research funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to enable low-cost photovoltaics. This follows an initial $3.1m, two-year contract announced just on 24 September.

“The added effort will be directed toward utilizing our photovoltaic coating technologies to achieve low-cost efficient ‘spectrum splitting’,” says Energy Focus’ chief technology officer Roger Buelow.

“This brings this phase of our solar program funding to $3.2m,” says CEO Joe Kaveski. “We are pleased with both DARPA’s and the VHESC consortium's confidence in us to deliver,” he adds. “We are proud to be part of the team that we believe will make efficient, affordable solar panels a reality for the military and for all Americans.”

DARPA recently began the second two-year phase of a four-year program with the VHESC consortium to raise the system power efficiency of a new class of solar modules to 40% and to deliver manufacturable engineering prototype modules.

The modules under development by the VHESC team use an optical ‘spectrum splitting’ system that directs light from the sun into different paths corresponding to the color of the light, and concentrates the light onto photovoltaic cells that cover different segments of the solar spectrum. The technology could boost rooftop power three-fold over silicon, it is said.

DARPA is developing the VHESC solar module technology for compact renewable energy to power both permanent and mobile bases, as well as to reduce the considerable logistical burden of supplying energy (e.g. batteries and fuel) to the US military in the field.

See related item:

DARPA awards Energy Focus $3.1m to develop spectrum-splitting solar module

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