Mass-produced European solar panels on the horizon – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Elvera Bartels

An EU-funded task has produced a European model of large-effectiveness, up coming-technology solar know-how and a lower-price tag manufacturing procedure. The revolutionary solar cells could boost a change to solar vitality and recharge European solar-panel generation.


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Photo voltaic cells and panels, or modules, are central to Europe’s motivation to utilizing renewable vitality to meet up to a 3rd of its vitality desires by 2030. But while the vitality will be residence manufactured, almost none of the needed hardware is designed in Europe.

Most mass-manufactured cells and modules are from China, Taiwan and Malaysia, in accordance to an EU report. The most effective crystalline silicon solar-cell know-how ideas on the current market – interdigitated again-contacted (IBC) variety solar cells – are manufactured by a tiny number of American and Asian firms.

Europe is now nearer to obtaining its very own model of this know-how. The EU-funded NEXTBASE task has produced extremely effective IBC solar cells in the silicon heterojunction configuration (IBC-SHJ).

The NEXTBASE cells can transform twenty five.four % of the solar vitality they capture into power.

‘This is a European file for an industrially feasible model of IBC-SHJ know-how,’ states task coordinator Kaining Ding of the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH study organisation in Germany.

‘The existing laboratory planet file for a silicon solar cell is 26.7 %, which was also based mostly on the IBC-SHJ concept but was extremely costly to make. Our method is near to the optimum amount.’

NEXTBASE researchers have also produced a prototype four-cell x four-cell solar module that has accomplished 23.two % effectiveness, which is among the highest silicon module efficiencies at any time claimed. Encouraged by these benefits, the task workforce has produced a price tag-efficient manufacturing strategy that could generate these types of modules for less than EUR .275/watt, enabling electrical power technology at expenses very similar to technology with conventional Asian-designed technologies.

‘It helps make Europe aggressive in solar cell manufacturing,’ states Ding.

Electrical power-tech innovations

Ding adds that the cells can make Europe’s vitality far more sustainable and secure. ‘The bigger effectiveness fosters the transition to renewables as it generates far more vitality from scaled-down parts than very similar significantly less-effective cells,’ he explains, including: ‘From an environmental and societal watch, it is improved to generate locally.’

The IBC-SHJ know-how is essential to the extraordinary vitality conversion fee. Metallic contacts in conventional mass-manufactured solar know-how are on the front and again, throwing away the solar vitality that is blocked by the metal on the front. In distinction, again-contacted cells have all the connections at the again, so that they can capture solar vitality across their full front surface area, in addition to being aesthetically satisfying.

Current IBC-variety modules provide only to a quality current market and are costly to make, in accordance to Ding. The 14 marketplace and study companions in the NEXTBASE consortium altered models and procedures for the silicon wafers, the cells and the modules in this know-how to make them both equally far more effective and far more price tag-efficient.

Ding explains that IBC-SHJ cells have complicated constructions. ‘There was no price tag-aggressive industrial way to generate them.’

NEXTBASE member Meyer Burger Exploration AG produced an automated procedure for creating the cells cheaply. ‘This procedure was extremely productive and easy,’ states Ding.

Pilot preparations

Ding thinks that NEXTBASE can enhance manufacturing and customer desire in European photovoltaic know-how and make IBC-SHJ modules far more desirable to shoppers. ‘The benefits are major to commercialisation of large-effectiveness PV modules based mostly on up coming-technology c-Si solar cells. With no EU funding, the companions would not have worked with each other that intently,’ states Ding. ‘Everyone has an active desire in accomplishing the function, even outside of the task.’

The up coming move will be to exhibit that the NEXTBASE cell can function in larger sized modules and to industrialise generation. The companions are arranging a task for a pilot line, led by Meyer Burger Exploration AG, which now has a patent on the cell.

However, scientific info about the project’s innovations can be accessed on the NEXTBASE internet site, including its price tag and life-cycle affect examination, enabling other projects and businesses to build supplemental up coming-technology solar know-how in Europe.

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