With its crystalline silicon solar cell industrial affiliation programme (IIAP), imec has set up a research ecosystem with the aim to create processes to produce the next generations of silicon solar cells.
The R&D programme concentrates on reducing silicon use, whilst at the same time increase the efficiency of crystalline solar cells, which again could lower costs.
Dow Corning will contribute with materials for processing and interconnection. One example is a silicone encapsulant process for integrated solar cell and module processing.
Due to the use of very thin and large wafers, cell processing and module assembly become increasingly challenging. imec and Dow Corning will combine new solar cell structures with silicone encapsulant processes with the goal of producing cost-effective solar modules with ultra-thin cells.
“With Dow Corning joining our silicon solar cell IIAP, our research can benefit from the latest innovations in materials. By bringing together all the different players in the silicon solar cell value chain, ranging from energy companies, solar cell manufacturers to material and equipment suppliers, we can speed up the development of new processes which are tested on a semi-industrial pilot line. As such we accelerate the transfer to mass production;” says Jef Poortmans, Programme Director Solar+ at imec.
“We are very excited to step into this programme and to contribute with our silicon-based materials to the design of the next generation solar cells and modules,” adds Eric Peeters, Vice President, Dow Corning Solar Business.
“It is all about commercialising new technologies that will make solar panels more efficient and more durable, leading to a significant reduction of the cost per kWh of energy generated with photovoltaics. Dow Corning strongly believes in imec’s approach to bring world leaders across the value chain together to work synergistically and make step-change innovation a reality.”