More than half of the solar modules manufactured worldwide contains technology based on our knowledge. We carry out R&DD together with partners in national and international collaborations, effectively bridging the gap between university and industry (from lab to fab and from lab to application). In addition, we play a key role in Dutch consortia in the field of PV application. We work closely together with the STA group in Eindhoven on numerous subjects (PV applications and system integration, module technology, mass customization and hybrid tandem technology).
We work closely together with several equipment and material developers. Recently, for example, we developed a new high-efficiency, next-generation silicon solar cell technology (called TOPCon) together with Tempress and proved the technology up to pilot line level. This so-called TOPCon technology is currently being industrialized by a major manufacturer. Within cell technology, we are focusing more and more on advanced topics and topics with high impact such as transparent passivating contacts, as an addition to or follow-up of TOPcon, or for application in tandem technology. This low TRL level research on the next generation of cells also strengthens the Dutch knowledge position at the universities with which we collaborate intensively.
For quite a few years now, our group has been focusing strongly on making PV modules, systems and applications for various purposes. We have a key role in the Dutch consortia (PV on Water, PV in landscape, PV in infra, Building integrated PV) that aim to enable the integration of PV everywhere. We focus on new integrated applications that are innovative, multifunctional and attractive. To enable further expansion in the future, we started the construction of an entirely new lab in 2019. The time of 'one size fits all' is over. With our new lab, we are able to develop PV modules, or better still, PV elements of various shapes (including 3D curved) and colours for integration in, for example, building elements, infrastructure, vehicles and in the landscape. For the latter, we investigate the dual use of land with the aim of achieving an ECO-positive effect. Instead of focusing on the lowest cost of PV, the value of PV (integration potential, public enthusiasm, costs, etc.) is becoming more and more prominent in our program.
The employees of Solar Energy have state-of-the-art knowledge of the industrial processes to make solar cells and modules. We have the know-how and facilities to carry out (outdoor) testing of modules, and by means of models and evaluations we can calculate the energy yield of systems. By performing accelerated lifespan tests of PV modules, we can test their reliability and minimize degradation based on the knowledge gained. We are known for our bifacial solar modules (see e.g. the largest bifacial noise barrier in Uden) and the back-contact modules we developed, which give enormous freedom in shape in applications (e.g. car roof Lightyear One). We also frequently give advice and explain all kinds of issues related to the use of PV (O&M, LCOE etc.).
Financed by the Province of North Holland and the State, we are opening a new facility in 2021 for both cell and module technology and for monitoring new, integrated PV elements. Together with Equinor and Sabic, we have a test site for floating PV in the Oostvoornse Meer. By means of outdoor testing, we can help realise an optimal design that maximises reliability and minimises costs (maintenance) and ecological effects.
With our current facilities we can make our own crystalline cell and module concepts. We have a cleanroom and equipment at our disposal to characterize the various cell concepts (Topcon, HIT, Metal Oxide, H-pattern and Back Contact).