Next Generation Solar Production Equipment

Solar module prices have declined by 50% over the last five years. To be profitable, the solar industry needs to boost module efficiency and drastically reduce production costs. Breakthroughs in technology to allow Increased throughput and yield, a shift to low-cost (atmospheric) deposition, reduced material consumption and improved thin film quality are key.

To support the solar industry in realising a further reduction in solar module production costs, TNO applies its recognised expertise in the field of thin-film deposition technology. TNO offers innovative and scalable solutions for large-area production by atmospheric (plasma enhanced) chemical vapour deposition, spatial atomic layer deposition, electrochemical deposition and patterning and nano-imprint technology. In addition, large-area and roll-to-roll machine concepts for high-quality thin-film deposition is a key competence. Finally, multi-scale modelling and simulation and unique accelerated lifetime test tools are available for the assessment of solar module reliability.

Focus on CIGS solar cells

TNO cooperates with TU/e, Holst Centre, ECN, Imec and Forschungszentrum Jülich on thin film photovoltaic solar energy in the research and development alliance, Solliance. Thin film photovoltaic modules have the ability to be produced on large-area substrates with low material usage, resulting in production costs considerably lower than traditional crystalline solar modules. Together with organic photovoltaic (OPV) and 'thin-film silicon', Solliance develops Copper Indium Gallium Selenide/Sulfide (CIGS) photovoltaic.. In particular, TNO uses its thin film technology expertise in CIGS solar modules to develop:

  • Atmospheric CIGS absorber formation,
  • Cd-free buffer layers,
  • Atmospheric deposited transparent conducting oxides (TCO's), and
  • Light management solutions to increase cell performance and/or reduce CIGS absorber thickness.

Shared research

To accelerate the development of solar module production technologies in general, and CIGS solar cells in particular, a Shared Research Programme dedicated to CIGS solar cells has been developed. In the Shared Research Programme, industrial partners and research organisations join forces to develop innovative CIGS materials, processes, equipment and applications.

Flexible & Free-form Products

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