In an event on Thursday, May 26,2011, four Colorado State University researchers in chemistry and engineering were honored today by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association as “Research Rockstars.”
Chuck Henry and Amy Prieto, both professors in chemistry, and W.S. Sampath and Bryan Willson, professors in mechanical engineering, received the honors at the organization’s inaugural “Celebrate Cleantech Research” event at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature.
Sampath, co-founder of Abound Solar, also gave the keynote speech at the event.
Abound Solar is a leading manufacturer of next-generation, cadmium telluride thin-film photovoltaic modules. Built upon 15 years of development at Colorado State University and with support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Abound Solar is producing solar modules that significantly reduce the cost of generating solar electricity using a robust, commercial-scale, continuous manufacturing process.
Abound Solar, based in Colorado, USA, recently closed on a $400 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to fund the expansion of the company’s manufacturing capacity and help cater to the demand for its products in emerging markets such as India.
The company announced a long-term sales agreement with Solarsis. The companies will work together to provide solutions based on Abound’s next-generation thin-film modules serving project developers in the Indian market.
Sampath and his colleagues Al Enzenroth and Kurt Barth began to investigate low-cost photovoltaic solutions – focusing on thin-film cadmium telluride technology – in Sampath’s Materials Engineering Laboratory at CSU in the early 1990s. They formed a spinoff, now called Abound Solar, in 2007 with the support of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. In 2008, Abound attracted $104 million in venture capital – more than any other Colorado company that year. The company now employs more than 300 people.
Sampath now leads a $2.5 million solar research-and-development center in partnership with industry to explore next-generation solar technology funded through the National Science Foundation Industry and University Cooperative Research Program. Sampath, PPG Industries and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee also were recently awarded $3.1 million by the Department of Energy to reduce Cadmium Telluride module costs by 17 percent or under $1 per watt.