The development of environmentally and economically compliant solutions for the energy supply of the near future is one of the most important R&D tasks worldwide. III. Chalcopyrite Specific Heterojunctions I. High Efficiency Solar Cells V. Device Analysis and Modelling II. Thin Film Module Technologies IV. Thin Film Silicon Large Area Modules on Glass VI. Sustainability, Training and Mobility Management puzzle
Project Structure
Photovoltaics has become an increasingly important industrial sector over the past ten years. PV is widely accepted and numerous kinds of solar modules and PV systems are commercially available. The expansion of the production volume of PV systems is accompanied by considerable cost reductions. For modules, the development of the specific price (€/WP) follows an experience curve similar to other industrial mass products down to the present value of about 4 €/WP. Despite these proven records of success, the main hurdle for a large-scale PV-contribution to the global energy supply remains the cost for electricity generation. Cost reduction is the central challenge of photovoltaics today. Continuous long-term research into the fundamentals of materials and processes as well as into the applications (solar cells, modules and systems) is required. Such research has to aim at improving existing technologies but also at identifying and testing new materials and technologies with higher potential for cost reduction. Experience shows that decades of research are needed to proceed from the development of a new material all the way to its implementation in industrial production via technology assessment, technology consolidation and technology transfer. This IP is focused on the development, assessment and consolidation of photovoltaic thin film technology.

In more detail, the scientific and technical objectives of the project and its subprojects will be:

  • to improve front and back contacts in view of long-term stability, conductivity, transparency (TCO), as well as the related deposition methods (in-line compatible technologies),
  • to optimise semiconductors as well as interfaces and specific buffers aiming at stable and highly efficient solar cells (materials engineering, source materials, deposition techniques/ parameters),
  • to optimise encapsulation materials as well as processes based on glass and flexible non-glass materials (damp/heat stability, costs),
  • to develop high band gap alloys (potential of voltage increase, top cells for tandems) and explore cost-effective tandem devices (technical feasibility),
  • to scale up novel, cost-effective processes (quality, reliability, throughput, cost),
  • to set up a new virtual EU laboratory for device analysis and modelling of solar cells, to supply outstanding highly sophisticated and well-matched analytical methods for materials and devices and to develop modelling tools for performance optimisation (cross-linking of analyses),
  • to identify machinery requirements for production and to enable European manufacturers to improve and supply machinery for large-area manufacturing. The focus of the process development is on throughput, yield, quality and cost,
  • to identify and solve performance-related problems arising from the rigid glass substrates as well as from flexible substrates (physical/chemical properties, type of glass, metallic and polymeric foils, cost-effectiveness),
  • to identify suitable in-line compatible pattern methods for super- and substrate modules, to develop alternative monolithic series interconnection methods (quality, thoughput),
  • to identify potentials for the reduction of energy consumption, material usage and waste, to develop improvement strategies,
  • to assess societal benefits and risks from large-scale technology implementations and to elaborate strategies for a more sustainable energy supply in Europe,
  • to provide training and to promote mobility for students and young scientists.

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