European research project launched

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A total of €25.7 million euros will be provided for the project through a combination of European and national grants.

In a statement announcing the project late last week, ERG highlights the need for "exponential growth" in solar production technologies, under Europe’s 2020 climate targets. ERG therefore will target potential gains right across photovoltaic systems including: "improving the efficiency of solar cells, devising innovative harvesting techniques, reducing power-conversion losses, and enhancing energy-management strategies."

ERG project coordinator Dr. Francesco Gennaro summed up the ERG project goal in a statement. "ERG’s goal is to achieve significant efficiency improvements along the whole supply chain from PV panels to grid connection and make them available to all partners."

In terms of photovoltaic cell research, ERG hopes to increase efficiency to 25 percent. It will look at ultra-thin Si wafters, Si hetero-junction cells, back contact architecture and novel approaches for screen-printing and laser processing. ERG will also investigate the potential of dye-sensitized solar cells as a low cost alternative to Si. Concentrated photovoltaic techniques will additionally be investigated.

Further down the supply chain, ERG will investigate end-user profiles, energy storage and E-mobility support. Smart grid technology, including "optimal energy dispatching and battery charging algorithms," will be the final "chain link" in the photovoltaic research project.

The countries participating in the ERG project are Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Slovak Republic and United Kingdom.