Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

Heat Pumps –
A Key Technology for the Energy Transition

Heat pumps will be the dominant heating technology in the future energy system. Scientific studies have shown they will play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector. Today heat pumps are used in numerous types of buildings.

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Paths to a Climate-Neutral Energy System

The German Energy Transition in its Social Context
Study from Fraunhofer ISE | February 2020

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Integrated Photovoltaics – Areas for the Energy Transformation

Integrating PV technology into building envelopes, vehicles and roads, as well as over agricultural fields and floating on water surfaces, capitalizes on surface areas with a tremendous potential for generating solar power.

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Digitalization: The Enabler and Driver of the Energy Transition

In the future energy system, digitalization is key for decentralization and flexibility as well as achieving energy and resource efficiency.

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Photovoltaics is a central pillar of the future energy supply from both an economical and ecological point of view.

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Energy Efficient Buildings

Energy efficiency in buildings plays a central role in climate protection. Currently the building sector in Germany is responsible for over 40% of the final energy demand.

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Solar Thermal Power Plants and Industrial Processes

Already today, concentrating solar thermal power plants (CSP) coupled with large thermal storage units provide dispatchable renewable electricity. Such systems show great potential for industrial systems, increasing efficiency and allowing more flexibility in the energy flows.

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Hydrogen Technologies and Electrical Energy Storage

Our R&D services address the generation, conversion and further thermo-chemical processing of hydrogen. In electrical energy storage, we offer R&D along the entire value chain: from materials, through the cell and module up to the complete battery system.

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Power Electronics, Grids and Smart Systems

We are working to optimize the interplay between efficient renewable energy generation, the security of supply, energy storage and stable grid operation.

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Dear customers, project partners, sponsors and friends,

The COVID-19 pandemic presents us with great challenges and requires all of us to act responsibly.
Our overriding priority is protecting the health of our employees and society in general. Therefore, we strictly adhere to the official regulations set down on the city, state and federal levels and the guidelines of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In addition, we are implementing measures specific to Fraunhofer ISE.
Taking these requirements into account, Fraunhofer ISE will remain at your service: We continue to work on your projects, do research and development in our laboratories and provide the services you are used to. At present, some of our employees are alternately working at the institute or in the home office. This change of location varies from day to day. However, thanks to modern digital tools, we are able to ensure our continued cooperation. The best way to therefore get in touch with your contact person is by e-mail. Should you still have difficulties contacting us, please call our central number: +49 761 4588-0.

We wish you, your relatives and employees continued good health!

Warm regards,

Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning
Prof. Dr. Andreas Bett

Institute Directors Fraunhofer ISE

R&D for Energy Transition

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE creates the technological foundations for supplying energy efficiently and on an environmentally sound basis in industrialized, threshold and developing countries. With its research focusing on energy conversion, energy efficiency, energy distribution and energy storage, it contributes to the broad application of new technology.

Fraunhofer ISE develops materials, components, systems and processes in five business areas. In addition to its R&D, the institute offers testing and certification procedures. Furthermore, it features an excellent laboratory infrastructure and is certified according to the quality management standard, DIN EN ISO 9001:2015. Founded in 1981, Fraunhofer ISE, with a staff of over 1200, is the largest solar research institute in Europe.

Current Press Releases


Press Release #30 / 12.11.2020

Material Analysis for the Global Energy Transition

Against the background of the global energy transition, the development of new technologies and characterization methods for thermochemical and electrochemical systems is becoming more significant. Fraunhofer ISE now operates one of the few facilities worldwide for High Temperature Near-Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HT-NAP-XPS). 


Press Release #29 / 13.10.2020

Consortium Develops Compact Refrigeration Circuit for Heat Pumps Using Propane

Fraunhofer ISE is developing a compact and cost-efficient refrigeration circuit for heat pumps which use propane as refrigerant in the research project "LC150 Development of a Refrigerant-reduced Heat Pump Module with Propane", funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi.


Press Release #28 / 5.10.2020

C3PO Project: New Laser-Based Contacting Process Developed For Solar Cells

Fraunhofer ISE has developed an alternative process for producing solar cell contatcs, the laser transfer and firing (LTF) technique.


Press Release #27 / 30.9.2020

Fraunhofer ISE Receives f-cell Award 2020

The Fraunhofer ISE received the f-cell Award this year in the category "Research & Development". The prize distinguished their work on the development of flatbed screen printing as an industrially scalable manufacturing process for fuel cell electrodes. Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector for Baden-Wuerttemberg Franz Untersteller presented the award personally during the f-cell conference in Stuttgart on September 29.

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News and Events


Trade Fairs, Conferences and Workshops


European Research Institutions present Joint Action Plan to accelerate Development of Electrolysis

Industrialization of water electrolysis (WE) technologies is considered a critical step for the large-scale implementation of clean hydrogen and deep-decarbonization of our society. While Europe is strongly positioned to capture the economic value of the growing markets associated with clean hydrogen production, the timeline set by the energy transition requires a more coordinated effort. With the »HySpeedInnovation Joint Action Plan«, a number of leading European Research and Technology (RTO) institutes describe the upscaling challenges that lie ahead and how they can tackle these challenges in order to make Europe a leader in the field of electrolysis. The RTOs (TNO, Fraunhofer ISE, Fraunhofer IFAM, Forschungszentrum Jülich, SINTEF and CEA) also recommend a supporting role for the European Commission and national authorities. Other knowledge institutions from EU Member States have also embraced the call, as has the network Hydrogen Europe Research, which represents several hundred companies and organizations in the field of hydrogen.
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Felix Predan Receives Eva-Mayr-Stihl Young Scientist Award 2020 of the University of Freiburg

For the second year in a row, the Eva-Mayr-Stihl Young Scientist Award of the University of Freiburg goes to a young scientist from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Dr. Felix Predan received the award for his dissertation entitled "Development of highly efficient four-junction solar cells based on antimonides," which he wrote at the Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering (INATECH), University of Freiburg and at Fraunhofer ISE. As part of his work, Felix Predan developed a novel four-junction solar cell based on gallium antimonide (GaSb). With numerous innovative process technologies, a solar cell efficiency of 43.8% under concentrated sunlight could be demonstrated. This efficiency value represents one of the highest efficiencies ever published for the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy. Due to the special circumstances this year, the prize was awarded in the form of a video message by Rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein, instead of at a presence event.
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European researchers analyze environmental impact of new III-V/Si tandem solar cell technology – article in Energy & Environmental Science

Electricity from solar panels will be a major pillar of a sustainable energy system, and in view of the climate goals, the transformation of our energy system requires a major growth in PV installation. Silicon solar cells which dominate the markets worldwide have seen a tremendous cost reduction, at the same time their efficiency has increased to a level which reaches the theoretical limit of the material. Therefore, Fraunhofer ISE is working on new approaches such as tandem photovoltaics – combining a Silicon based bottom cell with thin layers of III-V semiconductors – in order to produce solar cells with an efficiency going far beyond the theoretical limit of Silicon. Such shifts in technology and materials, however, may have unforeseen environmental impacts, given that the manufacturing of the new generations of tandem solar cells involves energy intensive processes, and requires new and occasionally toxic materials. The III-V/Si tandem PV technology still being at an early R&D stage, motivated the participants in the EU funded project SiTaSol to assess its full environmental impact, including the complete life cycle from production to waste. Researchers from the University of Leiden together with colleagues from Fraunhofer ISE have looked at all the relevant aspects and published their encouraging results in the prestigious journal Energy & Environmental Science. Apart from looking at the life cycle environmental impacts of state-of-the-art III–V/Si PV design concepts, the study also serves as an early guidance to identify more sustainable manufacturing processes of III–V/Si tandem cells that will eventually achieve an optimal balance between cost, efficiency and environmental impacts.
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Fraunhofer ISE receives two Best Student Awards at 37th EU PVSEC

Patricia Schulze and Christoph Messmer from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE received Best Student Awards at the 37th European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition. The Awards encourage high-quality work amongst young researchers and recognize their remarkable and outstanding research work in the field of photovoltaics. Both young scientists work on perovskite silicon tandem solar cells, a promising technology that can overcome the theoretical efficiency limit of silicon solar cells.
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New Articles on Innovation4E:


PV Module Power Increases with Improved Light Management

A novel system of optical elements redirects light so that the irradiance on the cells is increased, no light passes the pv module “unused” and more power is generated. An important goal of PV module development is to convert as much light as possible into electrical power and to reduce losses from reflection and absorption. [...]
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Setting the Course till 2030 to Achieve a Climate-Neutral Energy System

There is hardly anyone in Germany who still opposes the consensus of the Paris climate agreement. It obilgates us to limit global warming to 2 or better still 1.5 degrees. A central element of this agreement is therefor the energy transition. However, despite agreement that we need a climate-neutral energy system, the way to achieving [...]
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High-precision and Fast – Matching the Latest in Electronics Production with Rotary Printing

Reducing production costs for high-tech mass products: Most probably this becomes more relevant during economically challenging times than during periods of economic upswing. The mass production of silicon solar cells is a good example. Wafer-thin material, highly clean laboratory conditions and the highest demands on production conditions make the manufacture of solar cells one of [...]
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A More Sustainable Economy Needs a Strong Solar Industry

In recent months, the current crisis centered on the corona virus has diverted attention from the more long-term climate crisis. But then the demand came from all over Europe to use government economic stimulus packages specifically to support more sustainable economic sectors. Many people demand a “Green Recovery”, including us at Fraunhofer ISE for the [...]
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Scientific Blog of Fraunhofer ISE


We want to share our expertise with you. The scientific blog of Fraunhofer ISE  »Innovation4E« offers a platform for information and exchange.