U.S. government labs can offer a handy toolbox for up-and-coming cleantech startups. GreenVolts, which builds solar concentrating photovoltaic projects, said today that it has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to commercialize a high-efficiency solar cell. The cell, called the Inverted Metamorphic (IMM) advanced multi-junction solar cell, has an efficiency of 40.8 percent. NREL has committed $500,000 to help GreenVolts develop the technology.
GreenVolts plans to use NREL’s solar cell patents to develop a new solar cell for its concentrating solar system over the course of two years, and to help commercialize the NREL patents through GreenVolt’s manufacturing partners. GreenVolt’s CarouSol power unit (show in the photos above) concentrates sunlight onto solar cells and the unit tracks the sun on two axes. The 4-year-old company, which won the California Cleantech Open in 2007, has a contract with northern California utility PG&E (s PCG) to build a 2-MW power plant that is supposed to go online in 2010. Back in September, GreenVolts said it had raised $30 million in Series B funds to help it get the first megawatt of its GV1 project online.