Photovoltaics

The expertise of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance runs along the entire value chain of silicon photovoltaics. It spans the entire range from the crystallization, wafering and cell production through to the interconnection of modules. Experts at Fraunhofer develop optimized overall system designs and are leading in the inverter technology. For concentrating PV systems, highly efficient III-V multi-junction solar cells and optical systems are developed to bundle the sunlight. The portfolio also includes silicon thin-film cells and the usage of alternative material systems. In the up-and-coming sector of organic solar cells and dye-sensitized cells, research is conducted on the improvement of efficiency and long-term stability.

Competences of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance in the field of Photovoltaics

PV Production Technology

The institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research are working on innovative production technologies for solar cells with the aim of using solar energy more effectively. On the one hand, standard processes for the production of solar cells are being further developed. On the other hand, new technological concepts are systematically transferred from laboratory research to industrial application. To this end, we evaluate and develop manufacturing processes and process technology components, manufacture advanced industrial solar cell structures and characterize and optimize materials and solar cells. Aspects such as digitalization, recycling and sustainable production are important components of our concepts.

Projects

 

Rock-Star

ASYS Solar and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) evaluate and develop suitable system processes for the cost-effective metallization of Si solar cells.

 

CUT-A PLUS

The project "CUT-A PLUS" is the follow-up project of the project "CUT-A". In line with the previous project, the focus is on the further development of double-sided passivated PERC solar cells made of mono- and multicrystalline p-doped silicon. 

 

CUT-B

»CUT-B« investigates material and process related causes for fluctuations in the efficiency of multi-crystalline silicon solar cells with passivated emitter and rear.

Silicon Photovoltaics

Silicon is currently the most commonly used semiconductor material for the production of solar cells. The keys to this dominant market position are, on the one hand, a robust and cost-effective manufacturing process and, on the other, the high efficiency and high reliability of silicon-based PV modules. Efficiency in particular plays a decisive role in further reducing electricity generation costs and is therefore the focus of research activities. The experts of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft support companies in research and development along the entire value chain from silicon material to solar cell and module to system. The technological maturity of our projects covers the entire range from laboratory research to industry-oriented development. With new technologies and world record efficiencies from our research laboratories, we set scientific trends in photovoltaics and thus provide important impulses for new developments.

Projects

 

EoL

At our branch office in Halle/Salle, the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics CSP, different separation processes, cleaning processes, and melting and crystallization technologies are used and advanced to offer scalable, cost-effective recycling processes.

 

KosmoS

Cost-Optimized High-Efficiency Solar Cells of Low-Oxygen N-Type Monocrystalline Silicon for Industrial Mass Production.

 

SiTaSol

A simple silicon solar cell can only reach a limited efficiency. III-V multi-junction solar cells, however, have already demonstrated that almost twice as much electricity can be generated on an area of the same size.

Perovskite and Tandem Solar Cells

Organic and perovskite solar cells offer promising opportunities in terms of versatility and cost reduction. Researchers of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are working on developing novel materials to increase the efficiency of these solar cells, to improve long-term stability and to reduce production costs. In addition to conventional single-junction solar cells, we are developing silicon-based multi-junction or tandem solar cells. These use two or more photovoltaic absorbers such as perovskites or III-V semiconductors with different band gaps in a vertical tandem stack. In this way, the solar spectrum can be used much more efficiently, so that efficiencies above the limit of 29.4% for single-junction solar cells made of silicon can be realized. Our experts are working on optimizing these tandem solar cells and transferring them to industrial production. In the future, this means: a higher energy yield per area, potential savings in materials, and better sustainability.

Projects

 

Fraunhofer LIghthouse Project

MaNiTu

The efficiency of silicon solar cells can no longer be arbitrarily increased. The physical limits responsible for this can be overcome using tandem solar cells. With them, efficiencies above 35% are possible. 

 

PersiST

The objective of the “PersiST” project is the production of a perovskite silicon tandem solar cells with an efficiency of more than 29 %. Perovskite solar cells can use high-energy blue and green light significantly more efficiently than silicon solar cells.

 

PeroTec

In the »PeroTec« Fraunhofer project, the technological prerequisites for applications in the square meter range should be established and patent-protected for the industrial use of novel perovskite materials.

 

TOP

Approx. 20 million m² glass surfaces are installed in Europe every year for building facades. The Fraunhofer ISE wants to use these facades more efficiently with the help of dimensionable solar foils.  

Thin-Film Photovoltaics

Compared to solar cells made of crystalline silicon, thin-film solar modules are not produced from individual wafers, but are applied as large-area layers. This could result in cost advantages for high-volume production, and flexible geometries can be realized. Thin film photovoltaics have a much smaller market share, but have advantages in certain applications. The modules cope better with shading and deliver higher yields in low light conditions. Researchers at Fraunhofer are working on exploiting the potential of thin-film modules by using improved materials and optimizing production on an industrial scale.

Projects

 

ALFAMA

ALFAMA is a European response to current "calls" from the satellite market for more and more energy from the solar wings for satellites while at the same time reducing weight and stowage volume.

 

PHOTOTEX - Solar Cell on Textile

The futureTEX project PhotoTex deals with the prototypical development of photovoltaics on textile carriers and the investigation of the application properties.

 

Thin-Film Solar Modules

The joint project of the Fraunhofer CSP and Calyxo GmbH explores the potential fo thin-film solar modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) to make it usable for production on an industrial scale.

Concentrator Photovoltaics

In areas with a lot of direct solar radiation, the use of concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) is a cost-effective technology. Very high efficiencies are achieved by concentrating sunlight through lenses on highly efficient multi-junction solar cells made of III-V compound semiconductors. The institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research cover all aspects from the solar cell to the module to the optimization of the entire system. To this end, we apply our expertise in optics, assembly and joining technology as well as in theoretical modeling and module design. Thus, our portfolio addresses a wide range of companies developing PV systems with low to very high optical concentration. Our competencies also include the evaluation of specific requirements for the use of concentrator photovoltaics on site within and outside Europe.

Projects

 

ALCHEMI

In the ALCHEMI project, a HCPV module is to be developed within a European consortium with central components (primary optics, cell) potentially being provided by German suppliers.

 

CPVMod

The focus of the CPVMod research project is the development of innovative, high-performance concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) module as they can concentrate sunlight onto highly efficient solar cells that are only a few square millimeters in size.

 

CPVIndia

The main objective of the project is the installation and scientific evaluation of a 53kW CPV system for power generation in India. In addition to the CPV system, an outdoor measurement stand was installed for the electrical characterization of (C)PV modules.

Module Technologies

With the help of module technology solar cells become a durable product for safe operation in PV power plants. The institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have a comprehensive laboratory infrastructure. Customers have access to a wide range of modern process and analysis platforms for the connection and lamination of solar cells, especially for material testing and product and process development. In addition, we provide support in the qualification of materials and offer comprehensive analyses of degradation and claims. Highest precision is also offered by our accredited calibration laboratory. In the sense of the one-stop shop, we offer services and product developments along the entire PV value chain from a single source.

Projects

 

CTS1000+ - More Energy per Cell Power

State-of-the-art methods are used to achieve maximum module performance from a given cell performance under laboratory conditions (Standard Testing Conditions STC).

PV Systems and Power Plants

When it comes to the use of modules in photovoltaic power plants, experts of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft analyze and advise on every phase of a project: from development, implementation and procurement to commissioning and ongoing operation. In this way, we ensure comprehensive quality assurance for PV power plant projects. Besides traditional use in power plants, integrated photovoltaics offers new fields of application for photovoltaics. In addition to building-integrated photovoltaics, which is increasingly in demand, promising markets are developing as a result of innovative technologies such as those used for integration in vehicles and traffic routes. Concepts such as agri-photovoltaics and floating photovoltaics with innovative land use concepts offer new perspectives with regard to renewable energy supply in Germany and around the world.

Projects

 

OptOM

In the "OptOM" project, Pohlen Solar GmbH, Centroplan GmbH, Mondas GmbH and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE are developing new methods for intelligent monitoring of PV power plants.