Energy Department Funds Ascent Solar’s Thin-Film PV Projects

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc., a developer and manufacturer of thin-film solar photovoltaic solutions, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), supported by the Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), for two development projects.

As part of the awards, worth up to $100,000 each, Ascent Solar plans to work toward the commercialization of sputtered Zn(O,S) buffers in flexible copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells and the development of next-generation, high-efficiency Perovskite/CIGS Tandems cell.

These projects are part of Ascent Solar’s plans for next-generation lightweight/flexible solar cells, the company says.

The first project will use sputtered Zn(O,S) buffers, which would help reduce costs and further improve the environmental friendliness of the company’s CIGS manufacturing process, says Ascent. The Perovskite/CIGS tandem junction project is designed to significantly improve efficiencies and drive further cost reductions by enabling a more complete conversion of the solar spectral energy into electricity.

“These are challenging yet exciting projects,” states Dr. Lawrence Woods, director and head of research and development at Ascent Solar. “While there are challenges to be overcome with the use of perovskite-based devices, with already proven high efficiencies, we believe that Ascent Solar is well-positioned to incorporate these materials into our large-scale roll-to-roll processing.”

“We are honored to be the only PV developer and manufacturer to have been selected for the TCF projects, let alone two projects selected at the same time,” notes Dr. Joseph Armstrong, chief technology officer and founding member of Ascent Solar.

He adds, “In both cases, we are leveraging our significant intellectual property with flexible monolithically integrated CIGS and teaming with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to inject their substantial knowledge in novel advanced materials to create a potentially substantial leap in the advancement of our product.”

The TCF was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to promote promising energy technologies. TCF funds require a 50% match of non-federal funds from private partners. The full list of latest TCF selections and their private-sector partners can be found here.

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