Panasonic Boston Lab Awarded Grant for Pioneering Solar Technology

Project aims to expand the reach of highly efficient form of solar energy with novel sun tracking microsystem

Panasonic announced today it was awarded a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding will be used to develop a technology that aims to lower the cost of solar photovoltaic systems, improve their performance and ultimately help to reduce use of fossil fuels. 

“This $2.1 million in funding comes at a critical time in the development of our sun tracking system,” said Dr. Xinbing Liu, who is leading research on the solar system at Panasonic Boston Laboratory. “Our groundbreaking project aims to expand the use of concentrated solar photovoltaics to urban areas and rooftops, giving many more people, businesses and communities access to this innovative form of clean, renewable solar energy. This project is compelling because the efficiency of concentrated solar photovoltaic technology is double that of most conventional solar panels used today.”

Currently, concentrated solar photovoltaic panels must directly face the sun and therefore be mounted on an expensive tracking system that requires a lot of space. Panasonic’s work would reduce that cost and footprint, and thereby expand the market and geographic areas in which concentrated solar photovoltaics can operate. Panasonic researchers are developing a “microtracking” subsystem to be mounted in photovoltaic panels to allow individual lenses to always focus direct sunlight onto solar cells. This will deliver high efficiency concentrated solar photovoltaics without a cumbersome two-axis tilting system. 

Panasonic Boston Laboratory received its competitive award from ARPA-E’s Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC) program, which seeks to develop solar technologies that will create highly efficient photovoltaic panels that capture more sunlight using less area. 

About Panasonic Corporation of North America
Panasonic Boston Laboratory, which focuses on laser precision processing technology and picosecond laser research and other developments, is one of the U.S. laboratories run by Panasonic R&D Company of America, a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Panasonic Corporation of North America provides a broad line of digital and other electronics products and solutions for consumer, business and industrial use. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. In Interbrand’s 2014 annual “Best Global Green Brands” report, Panasonic ranked number five overall and the top electronics brand in the report. As part of its continuing sustainability efforts, Panasonic Corporation of North America relocated its headquarters to a new facility, adjacent to Newark Penn Station in Newark, NJ.  It was the first newly constructed office tower in Newark to earn both LEED Platinum and Gold certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council. Learn more about Panasonic at us.panasonic.com/news.

Editorial Contacts:

Jim Reilly (Panasonic)          201-392-6067            jim.reilly@us.panasonic.com
Weld Royal (Panasonic)        201-348-7859        weld.royal@us.panasonic.com

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