Singapore: Five solar research projects awarded grants

Two research themes held central focus in this grant call: (i) Improving silicon wafer-based solar cell manufacturing processes and technologies; and (ii) Thin film solar cells based on chalcopyrite materials system.

The Economic Development Board, which leads EIPO together with the Energy Market Authority in Singapore, announced that the focus of these research projects will be on new manufacturing processes and technologies that can potentially bring module costs down. The five research projects are:

  • Development of hybrid heterojunction silicon wafer cells (H2 cells) undertaken by SERIS (Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore), National University of Singapore.
  • Development and industrialization of low-cost, high-power back-contact module using high efficiency metal wrap through solar cells undertaken by Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), Singapore.
  • Integrated framing system for crystalline silicon PV modules (SERIS).
  • Ultrafast atomic layer deposition for cost-efficient high-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells (SERIS).
  • CIGS solar cells and mini-modules: establishment of an R&D pilot line in Singapore and research into cadmium-free heterojunction window layers (Nanyang Technological University).

The grants also motivate research into thin film tchnologies that employ chalcopyrite materials like copper-indium-selenide (CIS), copper-indium-gallium, selenide (CIGS) and variations like copper-zinc-tin-sulphide (CZTS) or copper-zinc-tin-selenide (CZTSe). Such variants have been known to suprass overall silicon based performances on the lab levels. The challenges have remained with regards to ramping up to commercial scales.

EDB’s managing director Beh Swan Gin, commented, "The research topics for this latest competitive funding round represent the next step forward for Singapore in solar energy research. We believe that Singapore can leverage its broad-based manufacturing strengths to catalyse new innovations in the manufacturing processes of silicon wafer-based solar cells. The additional focus on thin film cells will also diversify our research capabilities and srengthen Singapore’s leadership position in clean energy research, innovation and commercialization."