SoloPower joins forces with PVMC

SoloPower Systems will obtain “specialized technology services” to develop thin-film solar from its new collaboration as a strategic partner with US Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC).

Chris Eberspacher, chief technology officer at Oregon-based SoloPower, says the move will allow his company to both accelerate the commercial manufacturing ramp-up at its factory in Portland and further support product development.

“We look forward to this partnership which will not only expand our thin-film production capabilities, but also serve to ensure SoloPower technology remains the leader in this exciting market,” he says.

SoloPower specializes in the design, manufacture and deployment of lightweight, flexible copper, indium, gallium, selenide (CIGS) flexible thin-film solar technology.

The company has struggled financially, having defaulted last year on a $10m loan it received from the Oregon Department of Energy. It later reached agreement with its creditors on a restructuring plan and formed a joint venture in South Korea with local firm CTI.

In January, SoloPower announced that it had secured bridge financing needed to close on a major capital-infusion aimed at ramping manufacturing activities at the Portland plant.

PVMC was created as part of US Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative - a federal effort to drive research, manufacturing and market solutions to make solar energy more affordable and accessible for Americans.

It is an industry-led consortium for cooperative research and development among industry, university, and government partners to accelerate the development, commercialization, manufacturing, field testing, and deployment of next-generation solar photovoltaic (PV) and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) systems.

PVMC has extensive experience and knowledge with PV technologies, including roll-to-roll CIGS PV technology, in both research laboratory and industrial production environments.

It is developing roadmaps and standards to forge industry consensus and address broad issues related to power electronics, module advancements, building integration, testing, and reliability. Additionally, it offers a proving ground for innovative solar technologies and manufacturing processes.