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Article | Energies | Solar energy | Photovoltaic solar power
Solar Photovoltaics Platform
The CEA-Liten Solar Photovoltaic Platform is located on the INES campus (National Institute for Solar Energy Research). The Solar Photovoltaic Platform's mission is to conduct research and provide consulting services of the international state of the art to support the growth of a PV industry in France and across Europe.
The Solar Photovoltaic Platform possesses all of the resources and know how necessary to conduct R&D, with activities set up in four units:
The materials unit, with silicon ingot growth, slicing, and characterization capabilities. The platform has lab-scale (60 kg) and industrial-scale (1,200 kg) pilot lines and industrial-grade equipment for cutting ingots into bricks and slicing them into wafers.
The cell unit, for perovskite silicon tandem technology conversion efficiency, cost, and process scaleup. CEA-Liten has been obtaining excellent performance on its industrial-scale silicon process equipment, helping to make heterojunction technology more competitive since 2005. The platform's current target is to achieve yields of at least 25% on silicon and, ultimately, exceed 30% on perovskite silicon tandem cells, a technology that is rapidly gaining traction at the CEA and other research organizations worldwide. The main technological hurdles are perovskite materials' stability, homogeneous deposition on large (greater than 100 cm2) surfaces, and processes compatible with industrial-scale production. The cell unit is home to some of the platform's flagship facilities:
The PV module and system unit designs high-performance PV modules and systems, with a particular focus on heterojunction and tandem cells. The unit uses eco-innovation methods to develop process bricks and novel integrated PV solutions. Finally, the unit couples PV modules with systems that collect and convert the energy produced into electricity and that enable safe, efficient management.
The PV module and system unit develops processes and materials for the packaging of heterojunction and tandem cells in high-performance photovoltaic modules. The unit possesses extensive know-how not only in development, but also in modeling and predicting performance. It also develops innovative integrated, recyclable, eco-designed PV concepts. The unit couples PV modules with systems that collect and convert the energy produced into electricity and that enable safe, efficient management.
The large-scale deployment of solar energy and the sustainability of the photovoltaic industry require further improvements in the environmental footprint of technologies. One of the challenges is to reduce the use of certain materials such as silver, which is deposited during the metallization stage of the cells, with a positive effect on the competitiveness of the industry.
Enel Green Power and the CEA at INES are developing high efficiency bifacial photovoltaic panels. This technology, intended mainly for large-scale ground-mounted power plants, can gain even more energy-efficient, and not only thanks to the efficiency of cells and modules. The addition of an energy conversion system, as close as possible to the panel, makes it possible to reduce the impact of certain defects linked to the installation site and to increase the overall power of the plant.
The CEA at INES obtained flexible perovskite solar modules with a surface area of 11.6 cm2 and a power conversion efficiency of 18.9% (stabilized efficiency > 18.5%).
€140 million in investment
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CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.