Sunpreme gets $5 million award from DOE to develop technology for copper electrodes on solar cells

Written By: Stratton Report
September 14, 2016

On September 14, Sunpreme, a PV cell and module manufacturer, announced a $5 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop an advanced manufacturing toolset and process technology for low-cost copper metallization of their solar cells.

Ashok Sinha, Founder and CEO of Sunpreme noted:

“Winning this award is a defining event that will enable us to bring profitable, high-value solar manufacturing back to the United States in the very near future. We are very excited about the opportunity this creates for both Sunpreme and the US PV industry. It enables us to continue our 6-year track record of continuous innovations for high performance without cost tradeoffs. Our Silver based bifacial cells packaged in double glass modules have already set an industry benchmark for powerful, aesthetically pleasing yet robust panels; commercializing this copper innovation will enable us to lead the way to the next major step up.”

Under this award, Sunpreme will develop a manufacturing toolset and process technology for copper patterning on PV cells by adapting technologies from the printed circuit board industry. While copper electrodes are well-known to be the best option for solar cells, today, only 2% of global PV cells are made with copper, due to the complex and costly process needed to pattern it while the PCB industry uses patterned copper plating on a massive scale at ultra-low cost, by using alternative techniques for patterning and processing. By leveraging these existing techniques, and adapting them to PV cell manufacturing, Sunpreme hopes to cut manufacturing costs and increase cell performance.

Dr. Farhad Moghadam, CTO of Sunpreme remarked: “This SunShot award will allow us, for the first time, to repurpose these hugely valuable PCB and semiconductor manufacturing technologies for solar manufacturing. Most of the core technologies were originally developed in the US to begin with, and now Sunpreme, in partnership with the US Department of Energy, will be bringing them back to the US while creating new, high skill jobs and low-cost clean energy for all Americans.”