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Spotlight on: Zachary Holman

The U.S. Department of Energy launched the SunShot Initiative to reduce the total costs of solar energy by 75 percent and make its costs competitive with other forms of energy. Many photovoltaic modules have efficiencies of about 15 to 20 percent. Zachary Holman is using an unconventional, tandem system that raises efficiency to more than 30 percent.

Using a silicon photovoltaic module called a “PVMirror,” Holman and his team’s configuration is expected to open the door to manufacturing future tandem modules and bring solar energy production costs well below the 2020 DOE SunShot goal of six cents per kilowatt hour. In fact, the tandem system could also achieve the DOE’s SunShot 2030 program goal — a levelized cost of energy of three cents per kilowatt hour — which will help make solar electricity costs competitive with conventionally-generated electricity.

Holman’s significant contributions to photovoltaic energy conversion science and technology earned him an IEEE Young Professional Award.

Swift Coat, a spin-out company Holman founded with doctoral student Peter Firth, was a recent recipient of a DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) award.

From ASU Now: (Swift Coat) received $1 million to make and scale multilayer, antireflective and antisoiling coatings for solar glass that will be deposited by a technique that sprays dry nanoparticles. The coatings have the potential to increase annual energy yield by reducing the loss of energy output that results when light gets reflected or when dirt lands on the modules. They will also reduce operation and maintenance costs because the modules won’t require as much cleaning. The team will perform outdoor testing in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Swift Coat also was awarded $400,000 as a subcontractor for an Energy Materials Corporation research project developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar modules using intense pulsed light to fuse cell layers.

Learn more about Zachary Holman