Monday, March 16, 2009

GreenVolts Licenses NREL Solar Cell Design

GreenVolts has signed a licensing deal with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to bring a solar cell technology into commercial production.

GreenVolts said Monday it plans to use the $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees NREL, to figure out how to make the solar cells at low costs. GreenVolts plans to use the solar cells for developing its concentrating solar power systems, which use lenses to concentrate the sunlight and then direct it at solar cells for generating electricity. The San Francisco-based company plans to match the DOE fund for the 2-year project.

The NREL technology is called inverted metamorphic multijunction (IMM) Solar cell, which has three layers of active materials for converting sunlight into electricity. Last summer, NREL researchers reported that they were able to improve the performance of their IMM solar cell so that it can convert 40.8 percent of the concentrated sunlight (by 326 times) that hits it into electricity. The IMM solar cell is made up of two layers of gallium indium arsenide and one layer of gallium indium phosphide (see this graphic).

NREL researcher Mark Wanlass invented the original IMM solar cell design, which won a R&D Magazine award last year. Emcore, a maker of multijunction solar cells in Albuquerque, N.M., co-developed the winning solar cell design with NREL and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the company said. Emcore counts concentrating solar power developer SolFocus among its customers.

GreenVolts wants to use the IMM solar cells for building systems that make use of trackers that sit low on the ground, a design that the company says minimize wind resistance and makes the system easy and less costly to install. The deal with NREL will allow GreenVolts to develop solar cells tailored to its own systems rather than relying on solar cells developed by other companies.

Unlike some other solar companies, GreenVolts was founded not by researchers in the solar energy field but a dotcom entrepreneur, Bob Cart. The company is developing a 2-megawatt system in order to sell electricity to the Pacific Gas and Electric, a deal that PG&E signed in 2007.

See the original article here

No comments:

Post a Comment