Through the US Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative Program (which to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption), Stion Corp of Hattiesburg, MS, USA has been awarded a $956,630 grant and, in conjunction with Colorado State University, will investigate improvements in scribing and monolithic interconnection technology that should increase module efficiency, leading to a lower levelized cost of electricity for consumers.
Stion produces its monolithically integrated copper indium gallium sulfur selenium (CIGSSe) thin-film solar modules from start to finish at its 700,000+ square foot manufacturing and engineering center in Mississippi, supported by the firm’s R&D and project teams in San Jose, CA, USA. The 150MW factory has been running for more than five years with what is described as excellent process control, and can produce 160W modules (15% STC/11.3% NOCT efficiency). Stion plans to increase existing product efficiency through funding provided by the DOE.
The grant will fund a project to develop an all-laser interconnect architecture that can be patterned in one step after cell deposition on Stion’s module manufacturing line in Hattiesburg. This process could potentially increase module efficiency by 6% (relative) and lower the manufacturing cost by radically streamlining the production flow, the firm says.
Stion was selected as a part of the SunShot Initiative’s Photovoltaics Research and Development 2 funding program, which seeks to transform PV module design, explore high-risk emerging technology research, and devices and designs that facilitate rapid solar installation. Projects under this program will investigate new solar technology innovations that have the potential to make solar power affordable throughout the USA.
Professor James Sites and his PV group at Colorado State University have worked with Stion on several occasions. “Our PV measurement and analysis capabilities should nicely support Stion’s novel ideas for enhancing the performance of CIGS solar panels,” he comments.