The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium to make cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells less expensive, more efficient and develop new markets for solar cell products.
According to the DOE, CdTe solar cells were first developed in the United States and are the second-most common photovoltaic technology in the world after silicon.
The $20 million initiative is designed to strengthen domestic manufacturing capacity and reduce reliance on imports, thereby developing local supply chains.
Furthermore, the Consortium aims to spur technological advancements and bolster domestic innovation.
“As solar continues its reign as one of the cheapest forms of energy powering our homes and businesses, we are committed to a solar future that is built by American workers,” said U.S. secretary of energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
“DOE is proud to partner with leading solar researchers and companies to chart the future of CdTe technology, which presents an immense opportunity for domestic manufacturers to help ensure our nation’s security while providing family-sustaining jobs.”
To achieve its goals, the new Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium has a broad research plan that includes CdTe doping strategies, characterising and exploring new CdTe contacting materials, and work to enable a bifacial CdTe module that absorbs light from the front and back of the module.
DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will administer the consortium, whose leaders were chosen through a competitive solicitation NREL released last year.
The consortium will be led by the University of Toledo, First Solar, Colorado State University, Toledo Solar Inc., and Sivananthan Laboratories, Inc.