Lyss, 26.10.2009 - Solar group 3S, the world’s market leader for production equipment for the manufacture of solar modules and CEA Liten (Laboratory of Innovation for New Energy Technologies), a French technological research organization, have signed a three year agreement to collaborate on the development of photovoltaic modules based on silicon-based heterojunction solar cells and of associated tools to produce these type of modules.
By using the INES (National Institute of Solar Energy) platforms, CEA Liten conducts research on improving the performance of silicon photovoltaic cells by optimization of manufacturing processes and the introduction of new cell designs based on micro and nanotechnologies. A vanguard technology developed by CEA Liten is the heterojunction solar cell with efficiencies targeting well over 20%.
The objective of the Joint Development Program between 3S and CEA Liten is to speed up development of innovative applications based on these highly-efficient heterojunction solar cells. The technical challenges that need to be tackled are related to dedicated processes for the interconnection and encapsulation of these heterojunction cells into solar modules, as well as to subsequent testing of these modules. In all three domains 3S has a proven track record of process and equipment innovation.
CEA Liten already has a number of equipment installed in the INES. Created in 2006, INES has successfully completed its first phase and its future was assured by the President of the French Republic during his visit on June 9, 2009. In his statement Mr. Sarkozy said he hoped the creation of new platforms in the field of renewable energy, including INES for solar energy. Government support for developing the second phase of INES is acquired.
Over the last decade 3S has been leading in the entire value chain of photovoltaic (PV) module development and manufacturing through their subsidiaries SOMONT (string soldering), 3S Swiss Solar Systems (module lamination) and PASAN (module testing). This has made 3S the major supplier of production equipment for the manufacture of solar modules. Under the terms of the Joint Development Agreement 3S will deliver expertise and equipment necessary for the interconnection and encapsulation of heterojunction cells. The equipment will be installed at INES, in le Bourget-du-Lac (Savoie, French Alps).
The 3S expertise and technological capability on cell interconnection and encapsulation for module fabrication will boost heterojunction module development in the INES laboratories.
In a next step the Joint Development Program will exploit the inherent bifacial potential of the heterojunction cells, which offers the possibility to harvest the energy of the sun from both sides of the cell. When this bifacial cell potential is fully exploited during design and manufacture of a bifacial module, the resulting module efficiency can be increased by as much as 30%. The long-year experience of 3S concerning PV module design combined with the knowledge present at INES will also lead to significant progress in this field.
Source: 3S Industries AG