Spire Semiconductor, a wholly owned subsidiary unit of Spire, has successfully completed Phase I of its High Efficiency Concentrator Solar Cell Program with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The company has been notified that Phase II of this program will be authorized by the NREL.
Spire is a global solar company providing turnkey production lines and capital equipment for the manufacture of photovoltaic modules and cells. Spire Semiconductor, under a 18-month, $3.7 million cost share subcontract, is developing a technology to manufacture 42 percent efficient, 500 sun, concentrator solar cells for concentrator photovoltaic systems in a cost effective manner.
The progress of the project has been approved by the passing of Spire Semiconductor through the NREL Stage Gate Review. The NREL Stage Gate Review also ensures that the objectives of the contract are met by the progress. These objectives include direct manufacturing cost, estimates of key performance parameters of competitive Levelized Cost of Energy, cell Mean Time Between Failure and annual manufacturing capacity potential. During Phase I, photovoltaic cell performances of more then 39 percent was achieved.
Roger G. Little, CEO and Chairman of Spire, remarked that the company is pleased to have been provided with the signal to proceed with its program. The go-ahead validates the efforts taken by the company to develop a proprietary gallium arsenide (GaAs) concentrator solar cell that has the ability to exceed anything that is commercially available at present.
Little further added that growth in the photovoltaic industry will be a continuous process in the year 2010 and beyond. A number of benefits are offered by the concentrator photovoltaic systems.