The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has established a public-private consortium called the US-MAP for US Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium, that aims to fast track the development of low-cost perovskite solar cells for the global marketplace.
The joint effort will aim at resolving a number of issues involving manufacturing and durability. US-MAP will also tackle sustainability issues, some of which relate to the use of lead and other metals.
Along with NREL, the founding organizers and resource providers are Washington Clean Energy Testbeds (University of Washington), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of Toledo, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
The organizers will coordinate and focus funding from federal sources and also explore private-sector funding. They will be working with a six-member team of industry partners consisting of BlueDot Photonics, Energy Materials Corporation, First Solar, Hunt Perovskites Technologies, Swift Solar, and Tandem PV.
Several of these partners already have perovskite solar cell R&D funding through the Energy Department’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.
While the technology has shown promise in the lab, NREL said more work is needed before the technology is ready for commercialization. “Perovskites have the potential to become a game-changer for solar and many other fields,” NREL Director Martin Keller said. “By combining our research efforts, this new consortium will bring this technology to market sooner than if we were all operating alone.”
Representatives from each of the companies, as well as a group of U.S. startups and established companies, plan to form an industry advisory board to guide efforts performed at the research institutions.
US-MAP members will share R&D, validation and pilot manufacturing, which is expected to reduce development costs and technology risks for potential investors.
“Some US-MAP founding organizers are funded by state and local government programs intended to foster regional economic development within the United States,” NREL notes, adding that “Early investments by the Department of Energy…and the Department of Defense at the founding organizers and domestic industry partners have enabled the U.S. to be at the forefront of many of these technology areas and fostered a vibrant community of industrial leaders.”