Ovonic Solar Receives AFRL Solar Cell Contract

August 15, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

United Solar Ovonic LLC (Ovonic Solar), a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD, Rochester Hills, MI), announced that the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL, Kirtland AFB, NM) has awarded the company a $6.7 million, 18-month contract to continue development of its ultra-lightweight, high-efficiency, solar cell technology for use in space and airship vehicles addressing defense and homeland security applications.

United Solar Ovonic's triple-junction modules, originally developed for terrestrial applications, are made of amorphous silicon-based, thin-film alloys, which are deposited on a 5-mil flexible stainless steel substrate. The radiation hardness and high-temperature performance of amorphous silicon make it an attractive material for space application. By using a polymeric substrate, the new space cells will have a specific power density greater than 1,000 W/kg. Lightweight solar is particularly crucial for space-based applications.

"This is a valuable technology that will be very beneficial to AFRL and to our nation's security," said United Solar Ovonic President and COO Subhendu Guha.