Stion, a manufacturer of high-efficiency thin-film solar modules, announced a $2M award from the US Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to continue pilot production and scale-up of its ultra high-efficiency thin film modules based on proprietary tandem junction technology.
The award is a Tier 2 grant under the Sunshot’s Incubator 7 Program and is designed to accelerate the transition to commercial production. It is a follow-on to the Tier 1 award given to Stion in February 2011. As part of Tier 1, Stion successfully advanced its technology into commercial prototype stage and produced tandem junction prototype modules at 18.8% aperture efficiency, the highest for any module prototype based on thin-film technology.
Stion’s approach to thin film PV leverages proprietary materials and device expertise along with a robust, high-volume manufacturing process based on readily available, standardized equipment. Stion began shipments in March of products based on its single junction CIGSS technology, and has produced commercial modules with as high as 15.6% aperture efficiency.
The tandem junction module would increase efficiency by enabling broader and more effective harvesting of available light using an additional thin film device. It utilizes mechanically stacked top and bottom devices to eliminate the design and manufacturing challenges associated with traditional junction integration, and maintains the same glass / glass packaging design as Stion’s current commercial modules.
Stion was founded in 2006 and is backed by leading financial and strategic investors, including Khosla Ventures, Taiwan Semiconductor / VentureTech Alliance, Lightspeed Venture Partners, General Catalyst Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, and AVACO. Stion opened its first mass production facility in Hattiesburg, MS earlier this year.
The DOE SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.