First-Ever Roadmap for U.S. Photovoltaic CIGS Industry Is Launched

Initiative to be led by three very well known solar technology experts

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First-Ever Roadmap for U.S. Photovoltaic CIGS Industry Is Launched

The U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium has launched an effort to develop a roadmap for the copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic materials, long considered one of the most promising technologies for next-generation solar cells. The exercise presumably will be based on the influential roadmaps developed in recent decade for technologies deemed critically important to the nation's future, such as semiconductors and chip lithography. In keeping with the potential significance of the latest such exercise, the PV consortium has put three extremely well known solar technology experts in charge of building the CIGS roadmap.

The three co-chairs of the CiGS PV Roadmap will be Larry Kazmerski, long-time director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., the go-to place for certification of claimed advances in solar cells; Richard Swanson, the founding president emeritus of  SunPower Corporation in San Jose, well established as a world leader in solar; and Joseph Laia, CEO of MiaSolé in Santa Clara, which specialized in CIGS and thin-film technology. Laia was previously group vice president for metrology at KLA-Tencor.

The Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium is headquartered at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany, in Albany, N.Y. It is closely affiliated with the semiconductor industry consortium Sematech and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. The PV consortium is shooting for a 75 percent reduction in the installed cost of solar systems over the next decade.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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