Solar technology: opportunities and challenges

Advanced solar technologies

A lot still needs to be done to make the most of the sun as a resource. Solar panel efficiency must continue to increase. And production and purchase costs must be reduced. To achieve this, we work with manufacturers on materials, technologies, and innovations. Examples are silicon PV, thin-film perovskite, and tandems.

New technologies

The emphasis when developing all technological innovations is on energy yield, stability, cost, sustainability, and rapid upscaling from the lab to actual products. Together with knowledge partners and companies, we’ve built test environments at various locations to test new PV elements and structures under real-life conditions. Solar panels must continue to function under harsh conditions for at least 25 years, even if they’re integrated.

New developments in silicon cells

More than 90% of solar panels operate using silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells. To increase the efficiency of the panels and thus reduce costs, we’re mainly focusing on wafer-thin functional coatings. We apply these to the cells using special techniques. The coatings ensure higher light penetration and minimise losses on the surface of the cells. This enables you to obtain a higher energy yield.

We’re also developing new concepts for solar panels and, in collaboration with partners, we apply new materials to improve service life, as well as the design. In this way, we develop attractive modules that are also highly efficient. We combine knowledge of technologies, processes, and materials to achieve these goals.

New material perovskite

The most striking new PV material is perovskite. We’ve already achieved great success with this material with our partners in the Solliance partnership. Together, we’ve taken key steps in upscaling and stability, making it of interest for future production by Dutch industry.

In a very short time, the partnership has achieved conversion efficiencies of more than 20% in the lab. Our research concentrates on scaling up the technology, from small to larger surfaces, and finally to roll-to-roll production. An interesting possibility is to make the panels or foils translucent for use in power-generating windows.

Tandem technology

In addition, thin-film perovskite has the potential to achieve much higher efficiencies in a stack of cells. An example is a stack of 2 solar cells that together form a tandem. The combination of different solar cells in a solar module makes an efficiency of more than 40% possible.

Get inspired

12 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Dutch-German consortium develops simplified tandem solar modules for European market

14 March 2023

In cooperation with Dutch and German industrial partners, TNO is advancing a tandem solar module suitable for early market introduction. This application can reach higher efficiencies than those achieved by current silicon-based solar modules, which results in more power per square meter and lower cost per kWh.

Angèle Reinders new director Solliance

1 February 2023

Angèle Reinders, professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), has been appointed Solliance's new director. Reinders will lead the new broad focus of the Dutch/Flemish/German solar energy partnership.

Four terminal perovskite-silicon PV tandem devices hit 30% efficiency

26 September 2022

TNO, TU Eindhoven, imec and TU Delft, partners in Solliance, joined forces to further push the conversion efficiency of tandem solar cells to beyond the limits of today’s commercial photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Putting Europe back in the lead in solar panel production


Most solar panels come from China. Time to bring the solar panel production back to Europe. With smart solutions from TNO.

Solar energy


The Solar energy expertise group develops technology for solar panels, including bifacial solar modules and silicon solar cell technology.