Fraunhofer ISE builds centre for high-efficiency solar cells


The centre's new cleanroom will enable new research on the next generation of solar cells

Visual representation of the Center for High-Efficiency Solar Cells on the campus of the
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Photo copyright Fraunhofer ISE

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) is constructing a new building with a cleanroom equipped to handle the latest technological challenges in solar cell production.

The leading research institute for solar energy laid the cornerstone of the “Center for High-Efficiency Solar Cells” on October 4, in Berliner Allee, Freiburg.

Over the past 15 years, the international market for photovoltaics has grown by more than 30% p.a., with the costs of PV modules declining by more than 80% over the same period. Yet the potential for photovoltaics is far from exhausted. Research and industry are working hard to further improve efficiency and reduce the costs of solar cells, while also addressing aspects of sustainable production.

By financing this building, the federal government and the government of Baden-Württemberg are signaling a commitment to photovoltaic research in Germany.

Fraunhofer ISE has recently set several records for solar cell efficiencies: the world record for multi-crystalline silicon solar cells at 22.3% efficiency, a 25.8% efficiency rate for a monocrystalline cell based on TOPCon technology, and – exceeding the limits of silicon as a material – 31.3% for a tandem solar cell comprising a III-V multi-junction solar cell on a silicon cell. With its III-V multi-junction concentrator solar cell, the institute also achieved the overall world record for photovoltaic efficiency at 46.1%.

The new centre in Freiburg builds upon this solid foundation. It will include infrastructure to replace the outdated cleanroom for solar cell development and is also perfectly equipped for the next generation of solar cells.

“We are delighted that in designing the new cleanroom facilities, we were able to adjust the infrastructure to meet the latest technological challenges,” says institute director Dr Andreas Bett.

The federal and state governments provided a total of E32.6 million for the “Center for High-Efficiency Solar Cells” project. Baden-Württemberg’s contribution also communicates its strength as a centre for the photovoltaics industry. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.

Cornerstone laid for Center for High-Efficiency Solar Cells at Fraunhofer ISE. f.l.t.r.: Georg Brechensbauer, Brechensbauer Weinhart + Partner Architects, Prof. Alfred Gossner, Executive Board Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, MinDirig Günther Leßnerkraus, Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labor and Housing, Baden-Württemberg, Prof. Margit Zacharias, Vice-President for Innovation and Technology Transfer, University of Freiburg, Prof. Stefan Glunz, Head of Division, Photovoltaics, Fraunhofer ISE, Prof. Hans-Martin Henning, Director Fraunhofer ISE, Dr. Andreas Bett, Director Fraunhofer ISE

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