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PowerFilm secures USD 3.6m from US Army for PV R&D

(SeeNews) - Aug 28, 2014 - US-based flexible solar panel maker PowerFilm Inc (LON:PFLM) said yesterday it will receive more than USD 3.6 million (EUR 2.7m) in funding under two military contracts to develop new solar systems.

The US Army will provide USD 3 million over two years so the company could work on "more power dense" foldable photovoltaic (PV) arrays to be used for specialised military applications. As part of the programme, PowerFilm will evaluate the use of gallium arsenide (GaAs) PV cells, heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer (HIT) units and the more traditional crystalline silicon (Si) PV cells.

For the purpose, the company has teamed up with GaAs semiconductor maker Micro-Link and the Arizona State University, which has experience with HIT cells. About half of the total funding to be received under this deal will go to sub-contractors, PowerFilm noted. The company explained that the new arrays are planned to have higher output per square foot than any other technology.

In the meantime, PowerFilm has also won a contract from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to develop improved thin-film solar products for equipment testing under the SPACES and GREENS programmes. The USMC will support the firm with USD 634,000 in research funding over 12 months so it could develop a new generation of its 60-W foldable panel and a 240-W unit. The larger panel will need to have adaptable mounting options because it will be used as base power.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.757)

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Ivan is the mergers and acquisitions expert in Renewables Now with a passion for big deals and ambitious capacity plans.

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