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23 January 2015

Siva Power wins $3m SunShot grant from US DOE

Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) solar panel developer Siva Power of San Jose, CA, USA has received an award from the US Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative recognizing its innovative technology and processes that, it is claimed, will enable it to manufacture solar panels in the USA at the world’s lowest cost.

The SunShot Initiative is a national effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. Ten firms nationwide recently received cooperative awards under the Solar Manufacturing Technology funding program, which aims to bridge the gap from invention to commercialization, bringing innovative technology to scale. Siva was the only thin-film panel awardee.

SunShot’s goal is to reduce the average selling price of solar panels to under $0.50 per watt by 2020. The Chinese currently sell the world’s cheapest solar panels, with prices averaging about $0.70/watt. While the lowest Chinese manufacturing costs are close to $0.50/watt, they need a little profit, so the selling price is still about 40% over the SunShot goal. Siva Power plans to build a production line with costs of $0.40/watt within the first year of operation, and achieving $0.28/watt two years after that. Siva Power says this means that it could profitably - and sustainably - sell solar panels at less than the $0.50/watt SunShot goal, and that these record-breaking numbers could be achieved while manufacturing in the USA.

The DOE’s $3m award to Siva Power supports the firm’s plans to demonstrate a CIGS co-evaporation source with 12x higher manufacturing throughput (m2/min) than currently available sources, enabling a fully automated CIGS deposition system at a 3x reduction in capital expenditure (CapEx), labor, and overhead costs per watt, it is reckoned. Siva expects that this CIGS system - along with other high-speed tools - will allow it to build the world’s largest production line, at 300MW.

SunShot employs a fair, unbiased and rigorous selection process (including peer reviews by DOE scientists and industry professionals) to select the most meritorious projects for funding.

“This award will help us scale our proprietary co-evaporation process to build a 300MW production line, about 10x the output of typical solar production lines,” says Siva Power’s CEO Brad Mattson (a a Silicon Valley veteran and former founder of Novellus Systems and Mattson Technology). “That 10x advantage is the key to reducing costs, enabling Siva Power to beat the ambitious SunShot targets and to do it ahead of schedule,” he adds.

“We look forward to continuing a research partnership with Siva Power as part of the Energy Department’s SunShot Solar Manufacturing Technology program,” says Dan Arvizu, director of the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “CIGS cell efficiency has risen to nearly 22%, and this is an opportune time for companies to accelerate commercialization efforts in the USA,” he adds.

“There are two parts to the solution,” says Siva Power’s chief technology officer Dr Markus Beck. “You need to have the right technology, but also the right processes to enable the efficient scaling of product in order to make a huge difference in the solar industry,” he adds. “I dedicated my career to seeing CIGS make it, and now we have the team and support to make it happen.”

See related items:

CIGS PV firm Siva Power achieves 18.8% efficiency in 10 months

Solexant rebrands as Siva Power, refocusing on Gigawatt-scale CIGS PV production

Tags: CIGS

Visit: www.sivapower.com

Visit: www.energy.gov/sunshot

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