Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE


Photovoltaic technology is an essential component to transform today’s carbon-based energy system into one with its foundations in renewable and sustainable energy sources.

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Solar Thermal Technology

For the transformation of the thermal energy systems, solar thermal energy is a central component alongside energy efficiency.

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Building Energy Technology

More than 40 % of the end energy demand in most industrial countries is caused by the building sector, thus it has a major role to play in reaching the targets for climate protection.

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Hydrogen Technologies

Hydrogen, produced by electrolysis using electricity from renewable energy sources, can be used according to need across many sectors for a variety of applications; for example, in the sustainable mobility sector for fuel cell vehicles, etc.

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Energy System Technology

Energy system technology, which optimizes the interaction between generators, consumers and their control and addresses the management of energy distribution and storage, is one of the most important areas needing work for the energy transformation.

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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 9001:2008. Founded in 1981, Fraunhofer ISE, with a staff of approximately 1100, is the largest solar research institute in Europe.

New Directorship as of January 1, 2017

Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning

Director (acting)
Since 1994 employed at Fraunhofer ISE, July 2009 - December 2016 Deputy Director of Fraunhofer ISE, Research Focus: building energy technology and energy system analysis

Dr. Andreas Bett

Director (acting)
Since 1986 employed at Fraunhofer ISE, from July 2009 - December 2016 Deputy Director of Fraunhofer ISE, Research Focus: concentrator photovoltaics (CPV).

Current Press Releases


Press Release #12 / 17.5.2017

New Materials – New Test Requirements:

7th PV Module Reliability Workshop Sets on the Future of the Solar Energy Market

On July 6-7, 2017 the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is hosting the 7th PV Module Reliability workshop. This year the workshop will be held at the Solar Info Center, which is in close proximity to the laboratories of Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg. 


Press Release #11 / 13.4.2017

CalLab PV Modules Increases Measurement Precision to a Record 1.3 Percent

The calibration laboratory at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has achieved a best value: Photovoltaic modules can now be calibrated with an even higher measurement precision of 1.3 percent. Repeatability lies at 0.4 percent. Measurement precision is a decisive factor for quality assurance in the module production and for investments in PV plants. For a volume of 10 MW, for example, each percentage point increase in measurement precision corresponds to a monetary value of about 60,000 euros.


Press Release #10 / 10.4.2017

Photovoltaic Inverter with Highly Integrated Concept Promises Lower Costs

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and its project partners have teamed up to investigate what a new generation of PV inverters aimed at reducing costs could look like.


Press Release #9 / 4.4.2017

Research at Fraunhofer ISE Investigates Integrated Photovoltaic Modules for Commercial Vehicles

Fraunhofer ISE has carried out and evaluated yield analyses of PV power supply for commercial vehicles, such as refrigerated transport vehicles, using real-life solar irradiance data. Based on its findings, the institute sees great potential in this field and is working together with partners from the logistics and automotive sectors to conduct research into special PV modules for use in commercial vehicles.

News and Events


New Period of Growth for Climate Friendly Energy Supply – Photovoltaics Enters the Terawatt Phase

"Terawatt-scale photovoltaics: Trajectories and challenges" by the Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes now published in Science

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New World Record Efficiency of 25.7% for Both Sides-Contacted Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cell

Several new record cell efficiencies were announced at SiliconPV, the 7th International Conference on Silicon Photovoltaics which was held in Freiburg, Germany on April 3-5, 2017. This top-level scientific forum demonstrated that silicon, the workhorse of the solar cell industry, still has large development potential.

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Recycling Industrial Wastewater: Fraunhofer ISE Participates in Joint Project HighCon

To secure water availability on an economic and ecological level, the importance of reusing community and industrial wastewater and process fluids is becoming more and more evident. The cooperative project “Treatment of Concentrates from Wastewater Recycling Processes,” or HighCon for short, aims to develop innovative, multi-step selective processes that allow the generated concentrates to be almost fully reused.

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31.3 Percent Efficiency for Silicon-based Multi-junction Solar Cell

Silicon solar cells dominate the global photovoltaic market today with a share of 90 percent. With ever new technological developments, research and industry are nearing the theoretical efficiency limit for semiconductor silicon. At the same time, they are forging new paths to develop a new generation of even more efficient solar cells.

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44th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC)

Washington, DC, USA / 06/25/2017 - 06/30/2017


6th European PEFC & Electrolyser Forum

Lucerne, Switzerland / 07/04/2017 - 07/07/2017


7th SOPHIA Workshop PV-Module Reliability 2017

Freiburg, Germany / 07/06/2017 - 07/07/2017

Trade Fair

Intersolar North America

San Francisco, USA / 07/11/2017 - 07/13/2017



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.

New Articles on Innovation4E:


Photovoltaics – the ordinary madness

SolarWorld is only the latest bankrupt PV manufacturer in Germany. Many now wonder: What is the matter with photovoltaics in Germany and what is next? When trying to answer these questions, we have to look at three sectors: Politics, economy and technology. In the technical and economic sector, photovoltaics (PV) is on a triumphal march […]

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Fully accredited and accepted worldwide: Solar collectors from all over the world are being tested in the TestLab Solar Thermal Systems at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg

The basic principle of solar-thermal collectors is simple. All utilize sunlight to warm up a heat transfer medium and thereby make heat energy available. Some supply households in our latitudes with warm water and solar thermal heating. Other technological variants are located in the sun belt of the earth. Those feed power turbines with water […]

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Silicon PV in Freiburg – Interview with Dr. Ralf Preu, Ph.D.

The Silicon PV – International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics came back to Freiburg from 03rd to 5th of April where it began in 2011. The conference series was founded with the goal of offering an outstanding high-class scientific program on advanced technologies, materials and concepts for crystalline silicon solar cells and modules. This year, […]

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The Energy Charts, a Portal for Energy Data Visualization, Now Boasts New Feature – An Interview with Prof. Bruno Burger

Since 2014 Fraunhofer ISE maintains the Energy Charts portal ( which displays current energy data visually in interactive graphs and diagrams. With just a few clicks, one can view illustrative diagrams that provide information about the share of renewable energies in the power supply in Germany. Prof. Bruno Burger is the initiator and developer of […]

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