A who’s who of select research institutions in the Eindhoven-Leuven region of Belgium have teamed-up to boost the competitiveness of CIGS thin-film technology with conventional crystalline silicon technology that would ultimately support the overall cost reduction of solar energy. Working under the Solliance initiative, the Solar Flare project includes ECN, TNO, imec, Holst Centre, TU/e and the University of Hasselt/IMO, which will also aim to make thin-film PV a viable alternative to Si PV technologies.
“Solar Energy will undoubtedly keep on playing an important role in the EU2020 strategy. To strengthen the position of our local industry in this global market, cross-border collaboration is essential. We therefore will keep on supporting open innovation in the region,” commented Monique Swinnen, Deputy of the province of Vlaams-Brabant (Flanders) and member of the steering group Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands.
The Solar Flare project members said that thin-film module efficiencies would need to be boosted to around 17% to be competitive with c-Si modules of around 17% seen on the market currently. The members will also develop and implement a specific Cost of Ownership model for TF-PV to provide the data required for commercial production purposes.
To make thin-film PV a viable alternative to Si PV, the efficiencies of thin-film solar cells, which are currently around 13% for modules, should approximate the efficiencies of today’s mainstream Si PV modules of around 17%. In order to estimate the potential for local industries to develop thin film PV technologies, a specific Cost of Ownership model for TF-PV will be developed and used.
The Solar Flare interregional project is funded by the European Union, Interreg Flanders-Netherlands, Ministery of Economical Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (The Netherlands), and the provinces of North Brabant (The Netherlands) and Flemish Brabant and Limburg (Belgium).