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Ascent gets US DoE funding for two CIGS projects

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Company will work towards commercialisation of sputtered Zn(O,S) buffers in flexible CIGS solar cells and high-efficiency perovskite/CIGS tandem cells

Ascent Solar Technologies, a manufacturer of flexible thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solutions, has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE), supported by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) Technology Commercialisation Fund (TCF), for two exclusive development projects.

As part of the awards, worth up to $100,000 each, Ascent Solar is to work towards commercialisation of sputtered Zn(O,S) buffers in flexible CIGS solar cells and also development of next-generation, high-efficiency Perovskite/CIGS tandem cell. These projects are part of Ascent Solar's plans for next-generation lightweight and flexible solar cells.

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

"These are challenging yet exciting projects," says Lawrence Woods, Director and Head of Research & Development for 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 honoured 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. This is a strong testament to the DOE's faith in our ability to once again demonstrate our "˜lab-to-fab' expertise," says Joseph Armstrong, Chief Technology Officer and founding member of Ascent Solar Ascent Solar. "In both cases, we are leveraging our significant intellectual property with flexible monolithically integrated CIGS and teaming with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 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. The TCF selections announced on August 23, 2018 will expand the DOE's efforts to catalyse the commercial impact of the Department's portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities. TCF funds require a 50 percent match of non-federal funds from private partners.

"The Department of Energy is one of the largest supporters of technology transfer within the federal government. By connecting innovators at our national labs with entrepreneurs in the private sector, DOE is breaking down barriers and finding the nexus between ingenuity and opportunity," said US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. "The projects announced today will further strengthen those efforts across a broad spectrum of energy technologies and advance DOE's important mission of technology transfer."

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