Norwegian Crystals AS

"Requirement of high quality silicon wafers is rising with the development trend of increasing solar efficiency while keeping low manufacturing cost. In this contest, NC as a high quality wafer manufacturer is participating in NextBase project aiming to understand the material requirements for high efficiency cells and modules and to develop its ingot growing process to meet future needs of high efficiency cell market."

Yacine Boulfrad

Norwegian Crystals AS (NC) is solar energy company established in 2013. The company is producing high quality mono c-Si blocks (P- and N-type) in Glomfjord, Norway, which are processed into wafers by NC’s contract manufacturing partners. The company started ramping up production in 2015 in order to reach full capacity utilization (close to 275 MW/year) as well as for capacity enlargements (400 MW/year) planned in early 2017. In 2016, the company has around 80 employees, whereof 15 highly skilled and specialized technologist and engineers focusing on new technologies in order to increase productivity and reduce production costs.

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TU Delft

“The Nextbase project is an excellent European platform where to develop c-Si solar cells with the highest efficiency. We at the PVMD group of TUDelft are proud to be part of Nextbase consortium, contributing to the success of this project with our core expertise (optics, thin-film processing, solar cells fabrication and modelling). In WP3, we shall integrate our modulated surface texture in high quality c-Si wafers for maximising absorption of light. In WP4 we shall develop high band gap carrier-selective passivating contacts and innovative front surface treatments. In WP5 we shall use our self-aligned process for fabricating high efficiency IBC solar cells. Finally, in WP8 we shall individuate sources of optical and electrical losses and indicate how to overcome them by means of multi-dimensional opto-electrical modelling."

Olindo Isabella, TU Delft

Delft University of Technology is one of the most prominent technical universities in Europe. It attracts a large number of students from many countries, encourages science career among women, cooperates with several (inter)national industries and small-medium enterprises and has a successful incubator for spin-off companies. The Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Chair is a research group within the Electrical Sustainable Energy department of the Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science faculty. The group routinely collaborates with (inter)national research centres, universities and companies such as AIST (Japan), EPFL (Switzerland), ASU (U.S.A.), Stanford University (U.S.A.) and Kaneka Corp. (Japan). The PVMD group is strongly focussed on the study, development and fabrication of highly efficient wafer-based and thin-film silicon solar cells. The group has three main expertise: (i) opto-electrical modelling of advanced solar cell architectures, (ii) development and characterization of several PV materials ranging from transparent contacts to silicon alloys, (iii) fabrication of high efficiency silicon-based solar cells. The group is the largest in the Netherlands dealing with PV conversion. On a yearly basis, twenty-five individuals among staff members, Postdocs and PhDs supervise as many MSc students. The group has the vision to develop next-generation cost-effective high-efficiency solar cells. To achieve this goal, several theoretical and experimental activities are run within national and international projects.

To the website of TU Delft

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"DSM participates in NextBase, because it is a chance to interact with leading institutes and companies and an opportunity to evaluate our materials with high-performance cells and modules. We expect to strengthen our understanding of the requirements of AR coatings for such devices. This will give us direction for further development and improvement."

Ian Bennett

DSM is a global Life Science and Materials Science company, founded in 1902. Within the DSM Innovation Center developments related to solar energy are organized within the Emerging Business Area DSM Advanced Surfaces. DSM Advanced Surfaces’ strategy is to develop smart material solutions to enhance the in-use performance (KWh) of PV solar modules. DSM AR (anti-reflective coating) is a full own development within DSM, successfully introduced in the market mid-2011. Applying this coating on the front glass of solar modules, delivers an additional 3%-4% of module efficiency due to less reflection of the glass and consequently more light reaching the surface of the cell. Multiple other material developments are being investigated within DSM all connected to the core competences of the company.

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“For long, the PV-Lab of EPFL has been engaged in the development of next-generation photovoltaics. Participating to NextBase, it continues on the same line striving for higher solar cell efficiencies and contributing to the PV-competitiveness.”

Andrea Tomasi, EPFL

The EPFL is an engineering college active in education and research, founded in 1969. It covers disciplines ranging from the Basic Sciences to Engineering, Architecture and the Life Sciences. Its main campus brings together over 13,000 persons, students, researchers and staff. The Photovoltaics-Laboratory (PV-Lab) of IMT, founded in 1984 by Prof. Arvind Shah and headed by Prof. Christophe Ballif since 2004, is the EPFL research laboratory taking part to NextBase. PV-Lab has pioneered several new processes for the preparation of thin-film silicon PV materials and simple fabrication of heterojunction crystalline cells.

To the website of EPFL

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Since 1994, Uniresearch, an independent grant-consultancy company, has specialised in the startup and management of technology innovations. The company provides high-quality services helping clients find funding opportunities and prepare applications for regional, national, and pan-European grants like the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) and Horizon2020. Uniresearch’s full services support customers throughout each stage of a research and innovation project: from project definition, through consortium-building and proposal writing, to contract negotiation, project execution, and dissemination of results. In fact, Uniresearch customers enjoy a success rate for European grants that is three times higher than the average.

To the website of Uniresearch

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CSEM SA, Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology), founded in 1984, is a private non-profit applied research and development center specializing in micro- and nanotechnology, systems engineering, photovoltaics, microelectronics, and communications technologies. It offers its customers and industry partners custom-made, innovative solutions based on its knowledge of the market and the technological expertise derived from applied research.

The CSEM PV-center is an industry driven, application oriented program within CSEM created to bring new high-tech solutions for solar components and systems to technological maturity, and serve the global renewable energy industry. The PV-center is able to provide a full range of services to partners, ranging from technology development to product prototyping including the realization of full-size demonstration systems. The infrastructure of the PV-center includes specialty systems for coating, patterning, printing, and fabrication processes, as well as pilot R&D manufacturing lines – from wafer etching up to the assembly of fully functional PV modules and systems.

To the website of CSEM

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Helmholtz Berlin

"We are very happy to participate in NextBase, where we expect to increase our knowledge on processing IBC-SHJs solar cells, both with “classical” amorphous silicon heterojunctions and novel passivating contacts. This specific know-how can be also used for development of thin c-Si cells on glass, another main research topic at HZB."

Lars Korte and Bernd Stannowski, HZB

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH (HZB), formerly Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin, is a research center (yearly budget ~110 million €) within the German Helmholtz Association which focuses on structural and solar energy research. Around 40% of the ~1100 employees are scientists. HZB operates scientific large scale facilities for neutron scattering and synchrotron-based advanced materials analysis. In the department of solar energy, 260 people work on thin-film and wafer-based solar cells and multispectral cells. R&D at HZB spans the full range from fundamental research on innovative materials and processes up to technology transfer for devices to industry.

Two HZB institutes are involved in NextBase: The PVcomB (Competence center thin-film and nanotechnology for PV Berlin) develops industrial size SHJ cell and lab modules with industry relevant processes, offering baseline processes for the SHJ technology at HZB. The institute ‘Silicon Photovoltaics’ works on the scientific and technological foundations for silicon thin-film PV, with core competence (among others) in SHJ cells on wafers and pc-Si on glass, and in advanced characterization. Within three international (EU FP7: HETSI, HERCULES; ANPE (F): Smash IBC II) and several national projects, we have developed wafer-based rear contact solar cells and have recently patented two new rear contact designs. On cells with front side texture, passivation and ARC from ISFH Hameln, we have fabricated RC heterojunction cells with an efficiency of 20.2%, at that time a European record value.

To the website of Helmholtz

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Meyer Burger Group

"Meyer Burger Research is happy to participate to the innovative Next-Base project. This strong consortium of high level academics and industrial partners will allow to further push the photovoltaic technology by introducing new solar cells and modules concept. Meyer Burger people will develop a novel R&D equipment technology to produce hetero junction back contact solar cells for all the project partners."

Damien Lachenal, Meyer Burger Group

The Meyer Burger group is a leading global technology group specializing in innovative systems and processes based on semiconductor technologies. Its focus is on PVs (solar industry), while its core competencies and technologies also cover important areas of the semiconductor and the optoelectronic industries, as well as other selected high-end markets based on semiconductor materials. The Meyer Burger group provides production equipment from Silicon wafering, solar cell technology to module assembly and lamination, as well as metrology, automation and process intelligence. Meyer Burger Research is a dedicated division of the Meyer Burger Group working on advanced solar cells processes and tools in order to continuously improve the solar cells efficiency based on the heterojunction technology.

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"JÜLICH will play a very active role throughout the NextBase program as it will be the program coordinator and taking the lead of the project management (WP1). JÜLICH has a proven track record in silicon alloy thin-film growth, laser-process development and light management concepts and will contribute to the layer activities (WP4) and cell activities (WP5) accordingly. JÜLICH will also notably contribute to the dissemination, exploitation, internal and external communication (WP2). NextBase targets revitalizing European PV industry by providing Europe with a leading position in advanced world-class high performance c-Si PV technology, which has a high potential value for our future energy system. A successful demonstration of the objectives within this project can lead to the first European PV module manufacturers in the high-efficiency sector. This would fill up an important missing gap in the PV system value chain in Europe. Hence, the NextBase project is aiming to lay the foundations for a new PV system value chain in Europe based on innovative next-generation c-Si technology."

Kaining Ding

Forschungszentrum Jülich is an interdisciplinary, publicly funded research center with a staff of about 5.000 members working on the areas of health, energy and environment. One of the institutes at JÜLICH, the Institute for Energy and Climate research IEK, is divided into several departments. One is the IEK5 Photovoltaics. The IEK5 belongs to the world leading research institutions in thin-film technologies for PV and related research. JÜLICH covers the entire spectrum from research and development of the materials science to process- and device design and, finally, to demonstration of industrially relevant production methods. The SHJ materials and solar cells group deals with the design and process development for SHJ and IBC-SHJ solar cells. The process development focuses on the development of cost-efficient processes for the fabrication of IBC-SHJ solar cells. The material development concentrates on the fabrication and characterization of silicon alloys as well as their implementation in SHJ solar cells.

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Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (FZU)

" FZU leads the NextBase Work Package 8 Characterization and numerical simulations. In particular FZU will develop methods for thickness profiling of thin films/comb-like finger shapes deposited on rough silicon substrate. This will be done by a new method based on Raman micro-spectroscopy. The method uses an attenuation of the Raman signal from the silicon wafer by absorption in the a-Si:H coating for precise determination of the layer thickness and for mapping it over the whole area of the test cell, providing feedback for developing homogeneous deposition. FZU will also use nanometer resolved conductivity mapping to check for defects in the layers."

Antonin Fejfar, FZU

Fyzikální Ústav AV ČR, v. v. i. (FZU; in English: Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences) is a public research institute, oriented toward the fundamental and applied research in physics. The founder of the institute is The Czech Academy of Sciences. The present research programme of the Institute comprises five branches of physics: particle physics, the physics of condensed matter, solid state physics, optics and plasma physics. It also corresponds to the way how the institute is divided into major research divisions.

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"The Silicon Photovoltaics Department of imec will be active in the NextBase project and focuses on improving the efficiency, the industrial manufacturability, and the cost reduction of a number of advanced c-Si wafer-based cell and module technologies for the coming decade, including heterojunction-based back-contact devices."

Ivan Gordon, IMEC

Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Belgian universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan.

To the website of IMEC

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"The development of highest efficiency solar cells is one core mission of Fraunhofer ISE."

Jonas Bartsch, Fraunhofer

With a staff of about 1100, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany is the largest solar energy research institute in Europe. Fraunhofer ISE is committed to promoting sustainable, economic, safe and socially just energy supply systems based on renewable energies. Its research provides the technological foundations for supplying energy efficiently and on an environmentally sound basis in industrialized, threshold and developing countries throughout the world. Focusing on energy efficiency, energy conversion, energy distribution and energy storage, the Institute develops materials, components, systems and processes in five business areas and offers accredited testing facilities and other expert lab services to clients. The Institute is a member of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization.

To the website of Fraunhofer

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Enel Green Power

"NextBase project will allow EGP, as end user in the PV energy field, and 3SUN as PV manufacturing company, evaluating the new technologies developed in the project . EGP is willing to collaborate in the techno-economic targets identification and evaluation, for a better understanding of the possible impact into European market. EGP will make available the Catania Solar Lab to assess the project product reliability."

Anna Battaglia, Enel Green Power

EGP Green Power is the EGP Group company that develops and manages energy generation from renewable sources at a global level, with a presence in Europe, the Americas and Africa. EGP is a major global operator in the field of energy generation from renewable sources, with an annual production of 29 TW/h meeting the energy consumption of over 10 million families and avoiding 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2)/year. EGP has an installed capacity of 9.773 MW (2014), produced by 734 plants in 15 countries and with a generation mix that includes wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass.

The Catania Solar Lab, operating since 2007, is a centre of excellence for the study of solar energy systems. The Laboratory is accredited for PV modules’ Qualification tests according to the International Standards (CEI EN 61215 and CEI EN 61646). The main activities performed in the lab deal with test on commercial and innovative PV modules, development of specific testing techniques for characterization of non-conventional technologies (e.g. heterojunctions, multi-junction thin films) and for measurement of hidden defects, development of physical models to select the suitable technologies for each specific application and to enable advanced diagnostics, development of monitoring, diagnostic and forecasting tools to optimize PV plant operation.

EGP participates to the project together with 3SUN is a manufacturing company operating in the PV segment, fully owned by EGP; highly innovative multiple junction thin-film modules are produced in its innovative plant called “M6” in Catania, Sicily. It is the largest Italian factory and the world’s largest producer of thin-film PV panels in multi-junction amorphous silicon, born in 2010 as a 50-50 Joint Venture of three partners (EGP, Sharp and STMicroelectronics): from March 2015 3SUN is wholly owned by EGP. Two production lines (80×2 MW) are currently in operation, automated with advanced technological processes and assembly. Total production is around 4,000 solar panels a day, for a total yearly production capacity of about 190MW; up to date 5.2 million PV panels have been produced, equivalent to approximately 680 MW.

To the website of EGP

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"CEA-INES is very happy to join the Next Base Consortium. Indeed CEA is involved since many years in the development of all renewable energies. Among them, solar energies are particularly promoted with the creation of a specific research center called INES (National Institute for Solar Energies). Since 2006, this research center is focused on the development of global solar energy research, targeting to address the whole energy chain, from material fabrication to building integrated PV. Since the beginning of the institute, a specific attention has been driven on the development of very high efficiency devices and modules, necessary to reduce the overall energy costs and help the development and spreading of solar energy. The Heterojunction technology currently developed, both at lab scale and industrial scale thanks to the creation of the “Labfab” pilot line is in line with this roadmap. To push even further the silicon PV limits, research on IBC cells has been started, with promising first results. High potential of IBC-HET devices is now widely recognized with the successive world record announcements by PANASONIC and KANEKA on such architectures. SO CEA-INES is looking forward to collaborate with the Next-Base consortium partners in order to contribute to the development and industrialization of this high-efficiency technology, understand its current challenges and limitations, push forward innovative technological solutions."

Samuel Harrison, CEA

Europe on Solar Energy. The department for Solar PV technologies is dedicated to all the technologies involved in photovoltaic silicon. From material (process development of Solar grade silicon by purification of metallurgical grade silicon), cells (Silicon solar cells), to modules (development of new processes for module manufacturing). There are presently more than 120 people working in this department. There is also a technological structure at the CEA-INES center dedicated to develop heterojunction silicon PV cells production processes suitable for industrialization. This unit called “LabFab” has industry like capability to produce high volume of large area SHJ Cells. In the NEXT-BASE project, the material, cells, module laboratories as well as the production pilot line will be participating actively.

To the website of CEA

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