Leveraging its multi-year collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), HelioVolt has announced it will extend the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) for research carried out at NREL’s facilities to jointly develop the fastest and most efficient way to manufacture low-cost thin-film CIGS photovoltaics. The organizations have received many awards, including the 2008 R&D 100 Editor’s Choice “Most Revolutionary Technology” Award for their work in liquid deposition Hybrid CIGS, and other recognition for their significant impact on the solar market as well as the field of nanotechnology.
“HelioVolt is deeply committed to our collaborative efforts with NREL. We continue to invest in the relationship because of the tremendous value our teams have jointly contributed to our technology evolution roadmap. CIGS modules are entering a very exciting commercial phase in the solar industry. We believe that high conversion efficiencies – above 15% on a full size monolithically interconnected module rather than cell level – require developing innovative methods for producing nanoscale building blocks and synthesizing them into device-quality CIGS thin-film material. Our work with NREL provides us a sound foundation for realizing these goals,” said Dr. BJ Stanbery, HelioVolt’s founder and Chairman.
Many steps in conventional thin-film production require vacuum deposition, a process by which the thin-film material is coated onto the substrate in a very low-pressure vacuum chamber. Future non-vacuum deposition processes can be less capital intensive, but depositing CIGS films on large areas with the precision necessary to achieve both high performance and low manufacturing costs is difficult without the advantages of the FASST (TM) process. HelioVolt and NREL’s efforts in developing non-vacuum atmospheric pressure deposition processes will be able to offer a combination of lower cost, process simplicity, and reduced manufacturing time, while still delivering high-quality CIGS.