REC one of the recipients of Singapore Solar Cell Research Grants

Singapore has spent $11m in grants for Solar Cell Research to several compamies and institutes around Singapore.

The awarding of $11 million in funding was announced on Wednesday, 27 June by the Energy Innovation Program Office, and Norwegian energy company Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) is one of the recipients of the grant.

REC proposed developing and producing a solar module based on a cell design that can absorb light more efficiently.

The company’s Senior Vice-President of Operations and Technology Erik Lokke Owre said this new technology holds the promise of further cost reductions, in combination with an increase in module power.

REC’s integrated solar production facility in Tuas, Singapore was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee on 3 November 2010.

Singapore is aiming to develop its clean energy industry by exploring new ways to make solar cells. A total of $11 million in research funds are being given out for five proposals by companies or research institutes.

For the first time, the focus is not simply on making the cells, which convert light into energy, out of the traditional silicon.

Instead, the funds will also go toward research into other materials, such as copper indium selenide. Some believe the new technologies have the potential to match or even surpass the performance of silicon cells.

The Managing Director of the Economic Development Board Beh Swan Gin said the research topics for this latest competitive funding round represent the next step forward for Singapore in solar energy research.

“The additional focus on non-silicon materials this time would further diversify research capabilities in the clean energy field,” he said.

This is the fifth and final phase of a $57 million scheme launched in 2007 to develop the industry by kick-starting research and development. The previous four calls for proposals generally focused on mainstream silicon-based technology.

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