$30 M Joint Effort to Improve Solar Module Materials

The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) will work with four other DOE national labs in a new effort designed to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative, high-performance materials for photovoltaic modules to lower the cost of electricity generated by solar power while increasing field lifetime.

A total of $1.36 million over the next five years will be managed by Berkeley Lab’s Anubhav Jain, a scientist focusing on new materials discovery using high-throughput computations. The research team will develop DuraMat (Durable Module Materials National Lab Consortium), led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and co-led by Sandia National Laboratories. Along with Berkeley Lab, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a core partner. DuraMat is a new Energy Materials Network (EMN) consortium.

The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative will provide DuraMat with an estimated $30 million over five years, subject to appropriations. DuraMat will utilize the expertise and capabilities of the national laboratories to develop innovative new materials for module components.

“With DuraMat, we are going to leverage ‘materials genome’ approaches to making solar power even more reliable and therefore more cost-competitive over the long term,” said Jain, a researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area (ETA). “We are going to focus on data management and analytics. This entails integrating information from materials and solar module datasets measured at multiple length and time scales—all the way from quantum simulations to real-world solar module performance in the field.

“Next, we will use statistical analysis and machine-learning techniques to form a cohesive story as to why modules fail and what we can do to improve their dependability and lifetime. It’s a completely new approach that will bring together academia, industry, and the national labs as well as fundamental science, real-world measurements, and informatics.”

Researcher Kristin Persson of ETA will also be on the leadership committee and help guide the operation of DuraMat.

Source: Berkeley Lab Energy
Date: Oct 27, 2016