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Thursday, June 21, 2007

City of Pittsburgh and local startup Plextronics receive DOE funding

The Department of Energy announced today that as part of the Solar America Initiative it was providing $60 million in funding for solar energy research. Pittsburgh was one of the 13 "Solar America Cities" selected to receive funding for solar energy projects in a move that I hope kick starts the Green Pittsburgh movement. The DOE will provide financial assistance and will assist city officials with energy planning and solar integration. Sounds like a nice win for the burgh. I hope to follow up with a status report of the two year project once it begins.

Plextronics is a start up I have been following for some time. The company is funded by several of the leading VCs in this area and it's management team consists of several Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh alums. Plextronics' product pipeline looks very promising, particularly the printed electronic solar cells. The DOE's $27 million PV Incubator award will be split among a number of early stage solar companies that are predominantly from the west coast, with Plextronics expecting to receive up to $3 million of the total. The award would be used to fund commercialization of a thin film organic PV material, known as OPV, that would be applied to low cost solar cells. The Plextronics press release is here.

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