Through its SunShot Initiative, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded US thin-film technology startup Siva Power $3 million in funding to support the company’s commercialization efforts. Specifically, the funding supports the firm’s plans to demonstrate a CIGS co-evaporation technology that enables 12x higher manufacturing throughput (m2/min) than is currently available.This would enable a fully automated CIGS deposition system at a 3x reduction in capex, labor and overhead costs per watt, the company said. This CIGS system, along with other high-speed tools, will allow Siva to build the world’s largest production line, at 300 MW.
In August 2014, Siva said it was seeking $100 million to build its 300 MW CIGS thin-film module factory. Siva CEO Brad Mattson told Bloomberg that the company had received significant interest from strategic investors in China and that it expected to close the investment cycle by the end of 2014. Siva aims to begin building the module factory in 2015 and to scale up production activities in 2016. The single automated 300 MW production line would use co-evaporated CIGS technology and high-speed flat panel display glass coating tools and would produce modules at a cost of $0.40 per W within the first year of operation. This would drop to $0.28 per W 2 years after that, the company said. Siva has not yet selected a site for the factory, but it has said in the past that its projected manufacturing costs could be achieved in China, the US or nearly any other location.
In June, Siva raised $15 million from the Chinese city of Wuxi, China and existing investors Trident Capital, DBL Partners LLC and Acero Capital Management. Siva said the proceeds from the June fundraising round would be used to expand its research and manufacturing operations and to build a pilot production line.
The SunShot Initiative is a national effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. Ten firms nationwide recently received cooperative awards under the Solar Manufacturing Technology funding program, which aims to bridge the gap from invention to commercialization, bringing innovative technology to scale. Siva was the only thin-film panel awardee in the funding round.