Grant: $99,837 - National Science Foundation - Jun. 23, 2009
No votes have been cast for this award yet
Award Description: Summary of Intellectual Merits This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project provides Prism Solar Technologies, Inc. the opportunity to apply its proprietary Holographic Planar Concentrator technology (HPC) -- that uses volume holograms on holographic film to concentrate light -- to thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules. Compared to traditional crystalline PV modules, Prism currently manufactures crystalline silicon modules using HPC at half the cost ($1-$2/watt vs. $3.20/watt), with significantly more output (5%-10% more kWh per rated Wp), and substantially enhances performance in low light conditions. Prism's HPC theoretically can concentrate light onto any medium including thin films. In Phase I, Prism seeks to determine whether thin film materials, specifically CIGS, can accept the angle of diffracted light from holographic film, and assess the commercial viability of HPC on thin film PV modules. Prism will characterize the electrical and optical properties of thin film cells, design holographic elements to work with the cells, design and produce a sample low cost module, and evaluate performance and manufacturability. Prism anticipates that this project will result in higher efficiencies, low-cost manufacturing and many new applications for thin film. Summary of Broader Impacts and Commercial Potential This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project can merge thin film technology with Prism’s HPC technology to create a groundbreaking new product. The thin film market has been growing dramatically, resulting from its low cost, low weight, and the ability to manufacture on flexible substrates and embed solar into walls, roofs and windows. The thin film market is forecast to represent 20% of the PV industry by 2010, and reach $7.2 billion worldwide by 2015 (from just over $1.0 billion today). When thin film is combined with Prism’s inexpensive holographic film, the result should lead to even more dramatic performance efficiencies and lower costs. If this project is successful, Prism intends to work to develop, manufacture, and sell HPC-thin film PV modules. Such a low cost high performance HPC-thin film module is anticipated to reach $1/Watt or less, resulting in system costs that reach grid parity and are competitive with current energy costs. Flexible solar modules will likely open new markets for building installations, power sources for portable/wearable electronics, and many new applications. These results should spur widespread implementation of PV and substantially reduce dependence on fossil fuel.
Project Description: The primary objective, and final deliverable, of the Phase I research plan is to develop, build, and test a coupon (small, functional solar module) to determine the efficiency and commercial viability of an HPC-CIGS PV module. This work will carry on into Phase II with the potential of a pilot production device developed by the end of Phase II. The particular challenge of the project will be to establish that the holograms can be designed to provide at least a 2x concentration onto the CIGS cells. In addition, the configuration chosen for the prototype module will take into account performance, manufacturability, and cost.
Jobs Summary: Jobs retained include several optical scientists and a consultant from the University of Arizona. (Total jobs reported: 2)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 23, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.