Sunpreme wins $5 Million Award to Develop Advanced Copper Plating Manufacturing Technology for their Heterojunction Solar Cells from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative
Sunpreme, a world-leader in high-efficiency PV cell and module manufacturing, announced recently that they have received a $5M award from the U.S. Department of Energy, to develop an advanced manufacturing toolset and process technology for low-cost copper metallization of their high-performance solar cells. This award highlights Sunpreme’s position as a leading innovator in solar cell and module manufacturing, and will significantly accelerate the development of a cutting-edge manufacturing technology, that will dramatically increase performance while driving down cost.
“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,” said Ashok Sinha, Founder and CEO of Sunpreme. “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 next-generation manufacturing toolset and process technology for low-cost, high-performance copper patterning on PV cells by adapting technologies from the ultra-cost-sensitive printed circuit board industry. While copper electrodes are well-known to be the best option for high-performance solar cells, today, only 2% of global PV cells are made with copper, due to the complex and costly process needed to pattern it. Conversely, 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 will dramatically cut manufacturing costs and increase cell performance, making its copper plating practical for mass production of commercial solar cells.
“This SunShot award will allow us, for the first time, to repurpose these hugely valuable PCB and semiconductor manufacturing technologies for solar manufacturing,” stated Dr. Farhad Moghadam, CTO of Sunpreme. “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.”