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The Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization was created in January 2007 with $18.6 M in support from the Ohio Department of Development, along with matching contributions of $30 M from federal agencies, universities, and industrial partners.
The Center was funded as a means of strengthening the photovoltaics research and manufacturing base in Ohio. Activities revolve around eliminating market barriers currently facing companies in the photovoltaics sector. Companies active in the photovoltaics industry, from those researching advanced materials development to those deploying energy producing devices, advise and coordinate experts in PVIC membership. Ultimately, PVIC consists of an internationally recognized group of photovoltaics fabricators with an infrastructure attractive to companies that are already successfully marketing and to researchers of the future generations of photovoltaics. For maximum impact on increasing production efficiency and lowering costs, PVIC takes a vertically integrated approach from research in advanced materials to the fabrication of production-scale modules, to issues related to installation, and finally to aspects of customer acceptance. Consequently, PVIC consists of academic, industrial, and federal laboratory experts in semiconductors or as suppliers to photovoltaics fabricators. Collaborators in PVIC possess knowledge of how to overcome real-life problems arising in connecting a module to the electric grid and how to obtain customer support for building integrated PV designs. Companies along the entire value chain have been brought into PVIC.
Five thematic areas reflect the strengths of the PVIC partners and the current needs of the industry. They are:
Inaddition to the coordinating efforts of the PVIC industrial partners, the not-for-profit partners serve as focal points for each of these five major thematic areas. The first thematic area is a particular focus of Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and The Ohio State University (OSU), both having a wide range of activities in nanoscale science and technology. The second area is a particular strength of the University of Toledo (UT), which has five full time faculty with primary lines of research and development activities in photovoltaics, a strength that is perhaps unrivaled in the US if not the world. Toledo also has a history of industrial activities in PV, emphasized in the third area; these activities are to be enhanced and strengthened by the proposed effort. Companies such as SSOE, Inc., and institutes such as the Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC) in Dayton will lead in the fourth area that involves design, engineering, and balance-of-systems that have the possibility of tied benefits with the generation of hydrogen (using PV) for fuel cell and other applications. They will also aid in commercialization efforts across the board.
Green Energy of Ohio will play an important role in PVIC in the fifth thematic area, using its experience and expertise to promote the installation and use of PV in the State of Ohio. AnotherPVIC not-for-profit partner, the Battelle Memorial Institute, will bring national laboratory capabilities to PVIC across all five thematic areas, will directly manage intellectual property created by center members, and will aid in commercialization efforts across the board.
Photovoltaics was chosen as the focus of PVIC in part because Ohio has a long history of producing successful companies along the entire value chain of PV technology (PV module fabrication, glass and polymer manufacturing, building integration), a field of high economic growth and high employment generation. PVIC is intended to solidify Ohio’s leadership in the manufacture of current PV technology and build infrastructure ensuring Ohio’s leadership in the PV technologies of the future.