It’s easy to greet the proclamations of the U.S.;Department;of;Energy’s;(DOE);Sun- Shot;Initiative;with;skepticism.;The;goal, installing;utility-scale;solar;at;$1;per;watt
by;the;end;of;the;decade.;When;Energy;Secre-tary Steven Chu in February rolled out the $27
million funding program, to be spread among
nine companies, there was plenty of fanfare. But
is SunShot more than just hoopla?
a method for manufacturing crystalline silicon
wafers that halves the need for hyper-pure sili-
sets the stage for a dramatic wafer price drop.
means that wafer costs have to come down to
With a “thousand little cuts” approach, the
SunShot Initiative aims to drop installed solar
costs by 75 percent — in less than a decade.
By Mike kOsHMRl
of many, many companies working on this, and
our technology alone will take one of the largest
cost components and slash the production costs
needs to streamline in a big way. It will need
considerable module efficiency gains and
slashed costs for installation, operations and
maintenance and all other systems components.
(Below) Energy Secretary Chu toured 1366
Technologies in December to observe its Direct
Wafer process. The North Lexington, Mass.-based firm was awarded a $3 million SunShot
grant in February.
Target: Thin-film Efficiency, Durability
— it’s lightweight, production is relatively cheap
and simple, and it’s not silicon-dependent. Durability’s not one of them. Until nanotech compa-nies;make;headway;on;a;durable,;exposed;cell,
As;First;Solar;and;other;thin-film;manufactur-ers;began;to;ramp;up,;that;need;caught;the;atten-tion;of;PPG;Industries;( ppg.com),;a;Pittsburgh-based glass and glass-coating manufacturer with
38 May 2011 SOLAR TODAY