Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) has taken a step toward expanding its operations into the advanced photovoltaic market. The company announced that it has acquired a 16 percent stake of North Carolina-based high concentrating photovoltaic (HCPV) module developer Semprius.
Semprius maintains that its "unique micro-transfer printing technology enables CPV modules with high performance, high reliability and low cost with scalability to high-volume production." As the solar market in the United States continues to flourish and demand increases, solar developers are racing to develop low cost technologies. To help support this race U.S. Department of Energy has been dolling out money to companies who are working to both increase the country's solar capacity and also bring the down the cost of solar power.
Another Solar Loan Guarantee from the DOE
Capping off a week seemingly dedicated to supporting the solar sector the DOE has awarded a conditional loan guarantee to solar wafer developer 1366 Technologies, Inc. The $150 million DOE-backed funds will be used to construct 1336 technologies' multicrystalline wafer manufacturing project in Lexington, Massachusetts.
The project will employ a process called Direct Wafer manufacturing which it claims requires 90 percent less energy than any "standard multicrystalline cell manufacturing process." When fully operational, the facility will have a production capacity of an estimated 700 to 1,000 MW.
This loan guarantee marks the the fourth the DOE has awarded to solar developers this week -- in total the four loan guarantees are worth approximately US$2.5 billion.
Commenting on the importance of 1336 Technologies solar wafer technology, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, "This project is a game-changer that could dramatically lower the cost of photovoltaic solar cells. It is exactly the kind of innovation that puts America at the forefront of the global clean energy race"
Chu added, "As global demand for solar cells increases, this kind of technology will help the U.S. increase its market share and be more competitive with other countries such as China, which currently accounts for 60 percent of the world supply of multicrystalline wafers."
Image Credit: OregonDOT via Flickr
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