Business Areas

Fraunhofer ISE conducts application-oriented research and development for key technologies of the future. To this purpose, the institute addresses a wide range of subjects and pursues a holistic, systemic approach. This maximizes synergy between the five business areas:


Photovoltaics (PV) is a key cornerstone technology for the transformation of our energy system. In this business area, Fraunhofer ISE specializes in research topics in four areas: Silicon Photovoltaics, III-V and Concentrator Photovoltaics, Emerging PV Technologies and PV Modules and Power Plants. With its many years of experience and its state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, Fraunhofer ISE is ideally positioned to provide expert R&D services and continue its advances in the field of photovoltaics in the future.

Research Topics in this business area


Silicon Photovoltaics


III-V and Concentrator Photovoltaics


Emerging Photovoltaic Technologies


Photovoltaic Modules and Power Plants

Energy-Efficient Buildings

Energy-efficient buildings play a central role in climate protection: More than 40 % of the end energy demand in Germany is caused by the building sector. We must reduce the energy demand for operating buildings and then meet it with renewable energy sources to the greatest extent possible. This is exactly where Fraunhofer ISE makes its contribution: We offer support for consistent realization of this vision, from building planning through construction to operation.

Research Topics in this business area


Building Envelopes


Building Operations Management


Building Systems Technology


Low Temperature Solar Thermal


Heat Pumps


Heat and Cold Storage


Ventilation and Air-Conditioning

Research Topics in this business area


Thermochemical Processes


Electrolysis and Power-to-Gas


Fuel Cell Systems


Battery Cell Technology


Battery System Technology

Applied Storage Systems

Solar Thermal Power Plants and Industrial Processes

In sunny regions, solar thermal power plants based on concentrated solar power (CSP) already provide dispatchable renewable electricity through the use of large thermal storage units. Particularly in combination with inexpensive PV electricity, the storage potential provided by CSP in grids with increasing proportions of electricity from fluctuating renewable sources will become increasingly important. Together with our partners, we are conducting research on materials, components, collectors and systems, to further increase the efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs. Cost-efficient and resource-saving operation of the systems is also the subject of current work. Thermal storage also offers great potential for industrial processes to become more efficient and energy flows to be designed more flexibly. In addition to concrete storage solutions and energy-efficiency measures, we are working on integrating solar process heat into the heat supply for industrial processes.

Research Topics in this business area


Solar Thermal Power Plants


Concentrating Solar Collectors


Water Treatment and Separation


Thermal Energy Storage for Power Plants and Industry


Industry Processes and Process Heat


Efficient Heat Exchangers

Power Electronics, Grids and Smart Systems

In its work on Power Electronics, Grids and Smart Systems, Fraunhofer ISE mainly addresses research topics from the electricity sector. We are working on optimizing the interaction between efficient generation from renewable sources, a reliable supply for consumers, energy storage and stable operation of electricity grids. Furthermore, coupling between energy sectors, e. g. the transport or building sectors, represents another important aspect of our activities. Power electronics is becoming an increasingly important technology for the future energy supply.

Research Topics in this business area


New Devices and Technologies


Power Converter Systems


Inverters in Power Grids


Smart Grids


Energy System Analysis