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Emcore solar cells to power space missions

EMCORE CORPORATION has been awarded a solar panel manufacturing contract to utilise its 3rd Generation Triple-Junction (ZTJ) InGaP / InGaAs / Ge Solar Cells solar cells in the new lightweight and highly-efficient ATK Ultraflex solar arrays. The solar panels will be used to power cargo delivery spacecraft for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) missions to the ISS.

Under contract with NASA, Orbital will provide cargo logistics support services to the ISS, beginning in 2012. Emcore’s solar panels will be assembled into deployable solar arrays by ATK’s Solar Arrays and Deployables business based in Goleta, California. The arrays will then be delivered to Orbital Sciences Corporation for integration into their Cygnus space vehicles.

“Coupling Emcore’s heritage of providing highly-efficient and reliable photovoltaics with ATK’s lightweight Ultraflex solar array design will result in a winning solution to

produce the most advanced and reliable power to ensure Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft is the long-term solution for the automated transport of goods to the International Space Station for many years to come,” said Dave Messner, General Manager of ATK’s Solar Arrays and Deployables business.

“Emcore values our long-standing business relationship with ATK and we are extremely honoured to receive this award,” said Christopher Larocca, Chief Operating Officer for Emcore. “We look forward to working with ATK to support Orbital and NASA missions.”

Kaneka and imec develop silver free silicon solar cells

AT the 21st International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference in Fukuoka, Japan, Kaneka and imec present silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cells. The results were obtained by applying copper electroplating technology, which was developed by Kaneka based on imec’s existing copper electroplating technology. A conversion efficiency of more than 21% was achieved in 6-inch silicon substrates with an electroplated copper contact grid on top of the transparent conductive oxide layer.

Today, silver screen printing is the technology of choice for the realization of the top grid electrode in heterojunction silicon solar cells. The difficulty of lowering resistivity and thinning the metal line in silver screen printing prevents from achieving high efficiency and low cost. In the presented silver-free approach, the screen-printed silver is replaced by

electroplated copper. Formation of top grid electrode with copper-electroplating in hetero-junction silicon solar cells is the world first result. Copper-electroplating is an economical and industry-proven process. This solution overcomes the disadvantages of the silver screen printing and provides advantages such as enabling higher efficiencies and reducing fabrication costs.

These results showing beyond 21% conversion efficiency in heterojunction silicon solar cells based on imec’s copper electroplating know how were obtained in a bilateral collaboration between Kaneka Corporation and imec in Leuven (Belgium). Kaneka’s Photovoltaics European Laboratory is located at the imec campus in Leuven, giving access to imec’s state-of-the-art PV infrastructure and enabling close interaction between imec and Kaneka researchers.

JCM Capital and Hay Solar to Develop 30 MW of Solar Projects

JCM Capital has announced that they have signed an agreement with Hay Solar Holdings ULC to provide full development, construction, and long- term equity financing for a 30 MW portfolio of modular 100kW farm building solar installations located throughout the Province of Ontario. JCM focuses on financing and developing solar projects on large commercial and industrial buildings and large-scale solar farms across Ontario, utilizing the province’s Feed-in-Tariff program via solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) with the Ontario Power Authority. JCM has secured FIT contracts for 65 commercial rooftop sites and has already started the construction of its first site in the fourth quarter of 2011.

This agreement with Hay Solar brings JCM’s total portfolio volume to approximately 155 MW. CEO of JCM, Christian Wray, stated that this agreement would allow a novel solar niche market to flourish.

“This agreement allows JCM to work with Hay Solar to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the Ontario agriculture sector by providing over 300 farmers across our Province with access to high quality farm buildings in addition to an integrated solar system feeding clean energy to the grid. It is a highly modular system which can be replicated and scaled up easily.”

“We are very excited about working with JCM to bring the Hay Solar concept to commercial scale,” said Paul Evans, President of Hay Solar Holdings ULC. “The Hay Solar Partnership Program will provide significant economic benefits to numerous sectors of the Ontario economy supplying materials and services to our planned aggressive farm building construction and solar installation program. We look forward to working with JCM, the Ontario Power Authority and our Hay Solar customers to bring the Hay Solar concept to commercial reality.”

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