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Solar Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency Round 2

The SunShot Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency (F-PACE) aims to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) cells achieved in the laboratory and on manufacturing lines.

Launched in September 2011, the first round of the F-PACE program supported 18 research projects over a 36-month performance period. These efforts laid the technical foundation for significant increases in PV efficiency by identifying cost and efficiency barriers and researching PV sub-cell materials and processes.

Through the second round of this program, four collaborative research teams are working to define and fabricate model systems that can approach theoretical power conversion efficiency limits for a chosen bandgap and absorber material.

F-PACE II Awardees

Arizona State University
  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Amount: $3,499,156
  • Cost Share: $874,060
  • Partners: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, the University of New South Wales, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  • Project Summary: ASU is leading a collaborative effort to fabricate a novel device structure for ultra-thin crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells based on carrier selective contacts. A series of innovations will be developed that result in ultra-thin silicon solar cells with targeted efficiencies of 29%.
Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Amount: 3,500,000
  • Cost Share: $1,359,175
  • Partners: National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Fraunhofer ISE
  • Project Summary: Georgia Tech is working to drive c-Si solar cell efficiency past 26.5% through fundamental and applied research. The research team's approach includes strategies of passivated contacts via tunnel dielectrics, emitter optimization, and enhanced light trapping through the development of photonic crystals and a plasmonic backside reflector.
IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
  • Location: Yorktown Heights, NY
  • Amount: $4,497,657
  • Cost Share: $1,124,414
  • Partners: Institute for Energy Conversion at the University of Delaware, the University of California in Santa Barbara, and Harvard University
  • Project Summary: IBM is addressing the open-circuit voltage deficit of copper zinc tin selenide (CZTS) technology through a model single crystal–based approach. This work will drive voltage and efficiency improvements toward the Shockley-Queisser (SQ) limit with targeted device efficiencies exceeding 18%.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Location: Golden, CO
  • Amount: $4,500,000
  • Cost Share: $1,319,005
  • Partners: First Solar, Texas State University, Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines, and Washington State University
  • Project Summary: NREL is using epitaxial cadmium telluride (CdTe) films grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to explore the fundamental limits of doping, lifetime, mobility and surface passivation in CdTe. The research effort aims to demonstrate 24% efficient devices.