Saudi’s KAUST signs-up ZSW as thin-film research partner



The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) will partner on thin-film PV research with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Under the five-year agreement, the two institutions will initiate an exchange programme for staff and students, joint research projects and the sharing of knowledge and publications.

KAUST officially launched the Solar & Photovoltaics Engineering Research Center (SPERC) at the end of April 2014

“We will work with the new and very well-equipped SPERC Center to conduct research in materials, manufacturing processes, characterization techniques and practical applications with thin-film solar modules operating under a desert climate's special environmental conditions,” said Michael Powalla, board member of ZSW and head iof tis PV division. “And for European companies, Saudi Arabia and the entire MENA region presents a promising market with excellent potential for the use of renewable energy,” he added.

Saudi Arabia has been tipped to launch a 1GW tender process by the end of the year as the first stage of its planned US$109 billion investment in solar generation.

“This cooperation between KAUST and ZSW presents new opportunities to drive research and development in photovoltaics, which is such an important technology to Saudi Arabia,” said Jean-Lou Chameau, president, KAUST. “Working together, we can develop and bring to market new, ultra efficient thin-film technologies,” he added.

German research centre ZSW has previously held thin-film cell efficiency records.

Saudi Arabia is understood to be keen to develop its domestic solar industry.

SunEdison looks set to establish a US$6.4 billion manufacturing plant in the country.

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