17/09/2021

Tannochbrae

Built Business Tough

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

An EU-funded undertaking has designed a European edition of high-efficiency, up coming-technology solar technologies and a small-price production method. The innovative solar cells could improve a switch to solar energy and recharge European solar-panel manufacturing.


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Solar cells and panels, or modules, are central to Europe’s determination to employing renewable energy to meet up with up to a 3rd of its energy requirements by 2030. But when the energy will be residence produced, practically none of the required hardware is made in Europe.

Most mass-produced cells and modules are from China, Taiwan and Malaysia, in accordance to an EU report. The most effective crystalline silicon solar-mobile technologies principles on the current market – interdigitated back-contacted (IBC) sort solar cells – are produced by a smaller number of American and Asian corporations.

Europe is now closer to possessing its have edition of this technologies. The EU-funded NEXTBASE undertaking has designed really effective IBC solar cells in the silicon heterojunction configuration (IBC-SHJ).

The NEXTBASE cells can change 25.4 % of the solar energy they seize into ability.

‘This is a European file for an industrially feasible edition of IBC-SHJ technologies,’ says undertaking coordinator Kaining Ding of the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH research organisation in Germany.

‘The present laboratory environment file for a silicon solar mobile is 26.7 %, which was also based mostly on the IBC-SHJ concept but was quite highly-priced to make. Our strategy is shut to the optimum level.’

NEXTBASE scientists have also designed a prototype 4-mobile x 4-mobile solar module that has realized 23.two % efficiency, which is among the the maximum silicon module efficiencies at any time noted. Encouraged by these final results, the undertaking staff has designed a price-powerful production approach that could make this sort of modules for underneath EUR .275/watt, enabling electric power technology at costs related to technology with regular Asian-made systems.

‘It tends to make Europe competitive in solar mobile production,’ says Ding.

Power-tech improvements

Ding adds that the cells can make Europe’s energy extra sustainable and protected. ‘The bigger efficiency fosters the changeover to renewables as it makes extra energy from smaller sized locations than related less-effective cells,’ he points out, adding: ‘From an environmental and societal perspective, it is far better to make domestically.’

The IBC-SHJ technologies is key to the impressive energy conversion rate. Metallic contacts in regular mass-produced solar technologies are on the entrance and back, squandering the solar energy that is blocked by the steel on the entrance. In contrast, back-contacted cells have all the connections at the back, so that they can seize solar energy across their complete entrance surface area, in addition to becoming aesthetically pleasing.

Present IBC-sort modules offer only to a high quality current market and are highly-priced to make, in accordance to Ding. The 14 business and research partners in the NEXTBASE consortium modified layouts and processes for the silicon wafers, the cells and the modules in this technologies to make them both extra effective and extra price-powerful.

Ding points out that IBC-SHJ cells have challenging structures. ‘There was no price-competitive industrial way to make them.’

NEXTBASE member Meyer Burger Investigation AG designed an automatic method for producing the cells cheaply. ‘This method was quite productive and simple,’ says Ding.

Pilot preparations

Ding thinks that NEXTBASE can boost production and shopper interest in European photovoltaic technologies and make IBC-SHJ modules extra appealing to consumers. ‘The final results are main to commercialisation of high-efficiency PV modules based mostly on up coming-technology c-Si solar cells. Without EU funding, the partners would not have worked with each other that intently,’ says Ding. ‘Everyone has an energetic interest in carrying out the get the job done, even past the undertaking.’

The up coming step will be to reveal that the NEXTBASE mobile can get the job done in greater modules and to industrialise manufacturing. The partners are setting up a undertaking for a pilot line, led by Meyer Burger Investigation AG, which now has a patent on the mobile.

On the other hand, scientific information and facts about the project’s improvements can be accessed on the NEXTBASE web-site, which include its price and daily life-cycle affect assessment, enabling other initiatives and companies to acquire extra up coming-technology solar technologies in Europe.