CIGS Innovator Nanosolar Completes $42 Million DOE Project
Nanosolar says it has successfully achieved or surpassed all 10 major tasks in completion of a $42 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The tasks were undertaken as part of the Solar America Initiative (SAI) Technology Pathway Partnership (TPP) program. Nanosolar was awarded the grant in 2006 to develop large-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems for commercial buildings that offer the best price per watt performance in the industry and received sign off from the Energy Department in early April 2012. One of the major achievements was that Nanosolar reached more than 13% cell power conversion efficiency on the production floor, which has been built out to a nameplate annual capacity of 115 MW, for its CIGS modules. The firm also deployed 3.4 MW of panels specifically for pilot installations for this project, a 550 kW deployment for Camp Perry based in Ohio, and a 2.88 MW deployment based in Oregon. In addition, as of December 2011, Nanosolar has produced, sold, and deployed at 14 sites around the world. Based on third-party estimates, Nanosolar says it will reach grid parity economics by 2015 as per DOE program goals. The firm is continuing to collect performance and reliability data from third-party testing laboratories, and analysis of this data is carried out by independent engineering firms and institutions. "Upon completion of the TPP grant, the Department of Energy indicated that Nanosolar met or exceeded every qualification," says Eugenia Corrales, CEO of Nanosolar. "The close of this grant validates Nanosolar's ability to execute to plan. We continue to drive toward delivering the most cost-efficient solar electricity." Nanosolar worked with three partners to complete this TPP project, which started in September 2007, and focused on developing solar electric solutions for flat commercial rooftops that can deliver grid-parity with other non-renewable energy resources. The team included Nanosolar's innovations in cell and module technology, inverter technology and systems optimization from Conergy AG and mounting technology from Sunlink LLC in a pilot installation by Suntechnics. The SAI team focused on using Nanosolar's uniquely scalable PV cell technology in large-scale commercial building installations to deliver grid-parity PV systems through the development of an integrated suite of system components and designs based on innovations in module, inverter and mounting technologies.