The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative awards $1.47 million to Case Western Reserve University’s SDLE Research Center

Roger French, Kyocera Professor of Materials Science at Case Western Reserve and director of the Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE) Research Center, has been awarded $1.47 million to lead a team of seven researchers to evaluate the lifetime and long-term power loss of a new commercial silicon solar cell technology called passivated emitter rear cell (PERC). This work is one of 48 projects supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative to advance solar power technologies.

“PERC cells increase module efficiency from about 18 percent to 20 percent, a tremendous improvement in initial energy yield,” said French. The next step is to extend the lifetimes and reliability of PERC cells compared to traditional crystalline silicon modules. This research aids in the national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and to support solar adoption.

The SDLE Research Center focuses on data science and analytics applied to materials and energy science and is able to test the real world degradation of solar photovoltaic (PV) materials. French and his team also plan to consider new packaging strategies to extend solar panel lifetimes beyond the current standard of 20 to 25 years. This project combines the help from scientists at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Connecticut, as well as companies such as DuPont, Cybrid, Canadian Solar.

Click here to read the CWRU press release.

Click here to read about the photovoltaics research and development projects.