Schott Solar is to transfer to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems 111 patent families relating to crystalline silicon photovoltaics, it has been announced.
With the patent families now owned by the Institute, both partners say the agreement will ensure that comprehensive know-how in the photovoltaic sector remains in Europe.
Last year Schott Solar announced its surprise exit from c-Si manufacturing. The company explained that continuing market constraints and unattainable cost bases had conspired to force it to withdraw from c-Si PV manufacturing completely.
Commenting on the new agreement, The Fraunhofer Institute’s director, Professor Eicke Weber, hailed the understanding as “an important milestone for keeping this future-oriented technology in Germany.”
Professor Weber added: “The German photovoltaic industry is still leading technologically. If we want to retain this industry here in Europe, we must help the companies to keep international competitiveness.
“This can be done by enabling German and European producers of PV manufacturing equipment to offer GW-scale PV manufacturing plants that are highly automated, using the latest and most cost-effective technologies. Only in this way can the companies remain competitive in the fast-growing global photovoltaics market.”
The acquired patents cover the entire value chain of silicon photovoltaics, from crystallization to system installation.
Fraunhofer ISE and Schott Solar have been research partners for over 20 years.
PV-Tech understands that the acquired portfolio, now completely in the hands of Fraunhofer ISE, contains many joint patent families such as the latest reliability tests for photovoltaic modules.
Both parties have agreed to keep the sales price confidential.
“The further exploitation of the patents has already begun and first inquiries have been received,” said Dr. Ralf Preu, Division Director PV Production Technology and Quality Assurance.
Dr. Ralf Preu added: “Of course we are concentrating on the licensing and implementation of property rights with German and European industry partners.”