Manufacturing innovations on show at European Solar Technology Forum

The forum took place at the BESSY II Synchrotron in Berlin, Germany, where observations made possible by the enormous particle accelerator have informed many of the results that were on show.

The event marks the closing of the CHEETAH project; a four-year, EU-funded research project, which aims at developing new products and applications for solar, as well as manufacturing innovations.

“After four years of solar research, we are thrilled to present our solutions that can reduce costs and increase efficiency,” said Jan Kroon, CHEETAH Project Coordinator. “Our hope is that this technology can foster innovative manufacturing and facilitate the commercialisation of new solar products in Europe,” said Jan Kroon (ECN), CHEETAH Project Coordinator.

The boldest claim of the day came in the field of crystalline silicon manufacturing, where CHEETAH researchers presented a study outlining the potential for a further 20% cost reduction in manufacturing through the use of thinner wafers. The researchers developed an epitaxial wafer process that could allow for production of wafers thinner than 100 microns, with no kerf waste.

Further innovations were also presented in thin film PV – where researchers demonstrated methods for further reduction to the bill of materials in CIGS modules – and in organic PV, where cheaper cell packaging solutions were on show.

“One of the most efficient ways to deploy more solar is using the most innovative technologies available,” continued Kroon. “The CHEETAH group has established a platform for long-term European cooperation in the PV R&D sector to bring the European solar industry to the cutting-edge.”