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Picasolar Inc. becomes first company to get three rounds of SunShot grants

Picasolar Inc., a solar start-up company affiliated with the Arkansas Research and Technology Park at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, today announced that it has received a third round of grants through the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to support its hydrogen super emitter. The company becomes one of the few companies, if not the first, to receive three rounds of SunShot funding.

“Today marks a huge milestone for Picasolar as we transition our focus to advanced manufacturing,” said Dr. Douglas Hutchings, CEO of Picasolar Inc. “This accomplishment would not be possible without the support of AEDC and the ARTP. We believe that Arkansas is the ideal place for Picasolar to deliver equipment to our customers around the world. Today, the most exciting thing taking place in solar energy is happening in Arkansas.”

Picasolar is raising $2 million in investments to match the $2 million in grants administered by the DOE. The funds will enable Picasolar to operate at full production and increase its workforce from nine employees to as many as 15 employees in the next few months.

“Picasolar is a testament to the importance of Arkansas continuing to support and nurture our growing tech companies,” said AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston. “The technology being developed by Picasolar is changing the face of the solar energy sector. As we tell the story of the many technology companies finding success in the state, we are proud to include details of the world-class technology Picasolar is producing.”

Picasolar’s hydrogen super emitter improves efficiency by altering the conductivity of the top layer of silicon solar cells and reduces the amount of silver needed to manufacture the panels by up to 22 percent, making them more marketable and affordable. The hydrogen super emitter could save the average solar panel manufacturer up to $120 million annually.

Through the SunShot Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Offices are working to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade. SunShot funds cooperative research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects by private companies, universities, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and national laboratories. The goal is to increase efficiency while decreasing costs for consumers.

Picasolar was the recipient of a 2015 Edison Award, which recognizes innovation, creativity, and ingenuity in the global economy. It is also the North East Region winner of the DOE’s Clean Energy Prize and the Grand Prize Winner of the MIT Clean Energy Prize.


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