Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 6 Fall 1991 New building dedicated to making solar cells The University officially opened a new $1.65 million facility June 14 that reinforces its nearly two-decades-long leadership role in solar energy research. President David P. Roselle dedicated and officially turned over a new headquarters and manufacturing building for AstroPower Inc. to Allen M. Barnett, company president, at a ceremony attended by dignitaries from the state, the University and the solar energy industry. Currently, AstroPower is the fourth-largest U.S. manufacturer in terms of shipment volume and the third-largest U.S.-owned manufacturer of photovoltaic solar cells for power applications. Photovoltaic solar cells directly convert sunlight to electricity. In 1990, the University's Board of Trustees approved construction of the 40,000-square-foot building, located near the main campus in Newark, to be leased to AstroPower for 20 years for research on and production of solar cells. The University receives rent and stock in the company, which operates under license with University of Delaware patents. Barnett, who also serves as professor of electrical engineering, said that AstroPower's primary products include Silicon-Film solar cells, thin films of crystalline silicon on a low-cost substrate; traditional crystalline silicon cells; and high-performance solar cells for both terrestrial and space applications. "AstroPower's largest markets are water pumping and other remote electricity supplies to villages, homes and buildings that do not have ready access to grid power," Barnett said. The power segment of the photovoltaic solar cell market, which was $350 million in 1990, is growing at a rate of 50 percent per year, he added. Barnett said that laboratory-scale Silicon-Film cells convert 15.7 percent of the sunlight striking their surface into electricity, the highest efficiency rating for any deposited film solar cell. AstroPower already has sold 42,000 watts of Silicon-Film solar cells, one array to be installed at a Pacific Gas & Electric site in Davis, Calif., and the other to be installed at Virginia Power near Richmond.