Germany-based Schott Solar, a photovoltaics manufacturer, has entered into a three-year research partnership with IMEC, a European nanoelectronics research centre, to explore sustainable ways to meet the growing demand for silicon solar cells.
IMEC’s newly launched silicon photovoltaics industrial affiliation programme (IIAP) aims to find a way to sharply reduce silicon use whilst increasing cell efficiency and lowering substantially the cost per watt of solar energy. The programme brings together silicon solar cell manufacturers, equipment and material suppliers and is based on a sharing of intellectual property, talent, risk and cost.
By joining the IIAP, researchers from Schott Solar will work with IMEC’s research team to help develop the next generation of silicon-based solar cells.
“In the highly dynamic market of solar power, short time to market for new products is essential,” said Martin Heming, CEO of Schott Solar AG. “We support IMEC’s ambitious goals and their work towards creating success for their partners.”
Crystalline silicon solar cells account for more than 90 per cent of the world production of solar cells. Within its IIAP, IMEC aims to reduce both the cost of producing crystalline silicon solar cells and the amount of silicon per watt needed by a factor of 2 to 3. The programme is aiming at efficiency improvements of more than 20 per cent.