This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project aims to establish the technical and commercial feasibility of an innovative approach for improving the performance and lowering the costs of photovoltaic solar-electric power conversion systems. In particular, we will improve concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems by encapsulating high-efficiency solar cells within a transparent, high-refractive-index epoxy. We anticipate lowering CPV manufacturing costs with this approach by leveraging established light emitting diode (LED) packaging technology. The use of high index of refraction material in a CPV will enable increased concentration ratios while maintaining a wide field of view in power generating subassemblies that can be incorporated into a variety of CPV systems. This STTR addresses the renewable energy market by developing a novel photovoltaic device capable of ultra-high performance with reduced intrinsic manufacturing costs. Concentrator technologies can radically alter the renewable energy market in the near term like no other competing technology. By replacing expensive semiconductor materials with cheaper plastic lens and/or metal mirrors, concentrator photovoltaic systems can in principle both reduce overall photovoltaic module costs and improve performance. This STTR program leverages work in solid state lighting to achieve higher concentration ratios and wider field of views in CPV systems that can be manufactured at lower costs and thus realize the ultimate objective of third generation photovoltaics, namely ultra-high conversion efficiency at low costs. In addition to the scientific and commercial impact, this STTR program has a strong educational component, enabling graduate students to be educated and trained in a novel, interdisciplinary, and potentially high-impact field.
Dr. Yash R. Puri
Co-Founder, Executive VP and CFO