LEUVEN, BELGIUM: The two major energy companies Total and GDF SUEZ and their common solar cells manufacturing subsidiary Photovoltech join the IMEC industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on next generations of crystalline silicon solar cells.
The multi-partner R&D program concentrates on sharply reducing the silicon use, whilst at the same time increasing the efficiency of solar cells. This will substantially lower the cost for solar energy.
With its IIAP, IMEC sets up a research ecosystem with the aim to create innovative processes to fabricate the next generations of silicon solar cells. GDF SUEZ, Total and Photovoltech will dedicate researchers to this program. Thus, researchers from energy companies, solar cell manufacturers and material and equipment suppliers will work together with IMEC’s solar experts on developing these advanced processes and testing them on a semi-industrial pilot line.
Luc Van den Hove, President and CEO at IMEC said: “We are excited that such major energy companies and Photovoltech join our research program. This agreement shows the importance of our research for the global energy market. By 2025 at least 20 percent from the worldwide energy supply will come from renewables. Solar energy will ensure at least 10 percent of the total electricity supply, but to achieve this, we need to join forces to strongly reduce the cost of solar technology.”
Philippe Boisseau, President Gas and Power at Total also said: “This agreement with IMEC, a world-class research center and historic partner of our branch Photovoltech, will give us access to promising new technologies for silicon solar cells. It will strengthen our skills and our scientific and technical commitment in new energies.”
“This program reinforces our partnership with IMEC and will allow us to develop key competitive positioning in the crystalline silicon solar cells technology”, said Henri Ducré, Member of the GDF SUEZ Executive Committee in charge of the Energy France business line. “This collaboration will also strengthen our position in a market where R&D choices are crucial and will extend our research capacity in the solar energy field.”
Johan Nijs, General Manager of Photovoltech said: “In order to cope with market requirements in terms of price and quality we need to deliver solar cells with ever improving electrical, optical and mechanical characteristics at lower cost. Collaborating with an outstanding R&D-center like IMEC offers unique opportunities to meet these challenges.”