Picasolar Announces $2 Million SunShot Award
Picasolar CEO Douglas Hutchings announces the company's SunShot Incubator Award at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park on on Wednesday.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A $2 million grant to Picasolar Inc. announced Wednesday demonstrates the importance of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in fostering new companies that create jobs through the commercial development of new technologies.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Incubator Award will be matched with $2 million from Picasolar, a solar start-up company that is affiliated with the research park, an innovation hub that works in association with the U of A to commercialize emerging technologies.
The SunShot award is the result of the company’s patent-pending hydrogen super emitter process to increase the efficiency of solar cells and could ultimately lead to new high-tech manufacturing jobs in Northwest Arkansas.
Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development at the U of A, said Picasolar’s solar cell technology was developed by U of A students under the mentorship of Hameed Naseem, professor of electrical engineering.
“Picasolar is a great example of the startups and jobs that are being created here at the research park that are benefiting the state,” Rankin said. “Energy and the environment is one the six interdisciplinary strengths at the university. Picasolar is a prime example of the benefits from the research in that area.”
Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar’s founder and chief executive officer, said the SunShot award is among the most prestigious and competitive grants a solar start-up company can receive. Hutchings founded the company in 2013.
The latest SunShot award will use the latest grant to begin using its hydrogen super emitter technology in a pilot manufacturing project, with the goal of producing 1,000 solar panels with the technology inside. The technology improves solar cell efficiency and reduces the amount of silver needed in the manufacture of solar panels, making them more marketable and affordable.
Picasolar is partnering on the project with Yingli Green Energy Americas, a top global solar panel manufacturer, and the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, a worldwide leader in solar technology development.
“We are convinced that when we get to the point when we can deploy Picasolar’s technologies in our production line, we will have a clear advantage over our competition,” said Sergiu Pop, R&D director for Yingli Green Energy Americas.
Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor
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