Solar technologies and applications

Renewable electricity

Behind solar cells lies a complex technology. Within this expert group, we develop and industrialise technology for manufacturing and integration of thin-film solar cells. We work on this with international partners in research programs. One example is Solliance Solar Research, a partnership between research institutes, universities, and industrial partners.

Another example is SolarNL. SolarNL is a national research, innovation, and industrial investment programme to stimulate PV manufacturing in the Netherlands and Europe. TNO will focus on hetero-junction technology, perovkite technology, mass customization, tandem technology and circularity for solar PV.

A look behind the scenes at our Solar Technologies & Applications expert group

New technology for thin-film solar cells

Switching to electric power requires large-scale deployment of solar cells. Every available surface must be utilised. New technologies make integration of solar cells into buildings and infrastructure affordable. Thin-film solar cells (see image) are cells that are built up but placed directly onto a rigid or flexible carrier using various deposition techniques. This offers freedom of design and integration, of form, dimension, and electrical design. Some of these techniques are relatively new, but have great potential.

Thin-film solar cell

Solar cells made of perovskite

There are solar cells based on lab-scale produced perovskite. They have conversion efficiencies comparable to traditional solar cells after only a few years of research. Also, this type of solar cell offers the possibility of making cells semi-transparent. So you can apply them in windows, coloured façades, and tandems with other cell types. We’re working to further scale up and industrialise this technology and expect the cost of production to fall well below the current price of solar panels.

Beautifully designed solar panels

We are also working on solar cells with an appearance other than black or blue, such as surface colour and texture. This makes it more attractive for housing associations, consumers, and building managers to use solar panels in façades or window glass. We test these aesthetically pleasing panels at our SolarBEAT test facility. There, the panels integrated into systems are exposed to long-term loads. This allows for a comprehensive evaluation of performance versus cost.

Broad field of expertise

We have extensive experience in the development of thin-film solar technology and the application and testing of solar panels. This ensures that we develop solutions on an industrial scale. That's why we have a broad area of expertise available to you:

  • various vacuum deposition technologies, including sputtering (PVD), chemical vapour deposition (CVD), and plasma-enhanced CVD (PECVD)
  • laser technology for insulating and connecting different conductive layers in thin-film solar cells
  • technology behind transparent conductive layers (TCOs)
  • inkjet technology for solution-based layering in a thin-film solar cell
  • techno-economic modelling of new technologies
  • techno-economic modelling and LCOE modelling based on real-life testing
  • extensive testing facilities for long-term practical testing of solar panels

Read more about our work on Integrated solar and safety and about Solar on land and water

Get inspired

6 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Solar panel production back to Europe

Most of the world's solar panels contain technology developed in the Netherlands. But they come from faraway countries. Time to bring solar panel production back to Europe.

Solar energy


Solar technology: opportunities and challenges


Tandem technology for higher PV performance


Perovskite solar cells