Oct 5, 2016

Energy Department Launches up to $30 Million Effort to Improve Solar Module Materials

The Energy Department on September 15 announced a new Energy Materials Network (EMN) consortium, the Durable Module Materials (DuraMat) National Lab Consortium, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). DuraMat is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of new, high-performance materials for photovoltaic (PV) modules to lower the cost of electricity generated by solar power, while increasing their useful lifetime in the field.

The Energy Department's SunShot Initiative will provide DuraMat with an estimated $30 million over five years. Leveraging these funds, DuraMat will utilize the expertise and capabilities of the national laboratories to develop innovative new materials for module components. The consortium will support materials-improvement projects in partnership with industry and academia to further optimize reliability and energy harvest of low-cost PV modules. Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will join NREL as collaborators in the consortium.

In February, EERE announced the launch of EMN, an initiative crafted to give U.S. entrepreneurs and manufacturers a competitive edge in the global race for clean energy. EMN focuses on tackling the design, testing, and production of advanced materials. By strengthening and facilitating industry access to the unique scientific and technical advanced materials innovation resources available at the Energy Department's national laboratories, the network will help industry bring these materials to market more quickly. See the Energy Department news release.