Module Efficiency

Different design options for photovoltaic modules
© Fraunhofer ISE
The combination of different materials presents a variety of different design options for photovoltaic modules.
Illustration der optischen Faktoren in der CTM-Verlustkanalanalyse.
© Fraunhofer ISE
Illustration of optical factors in CTM-Analysis.
Berechnung von 15 Verlust- und Gewinnfaktoren basierend auf Materialeigenschaften und Modulaufbau
© Fraunhofer ISE
Calculation of 15 loss and gain factors based on material properties and module setup.

Solar cells usually suffer from losses when integrated into a module. Optical, geometrical and electrical effects interact and result in a cell-to-module (CTM) ratio in terms of power and efficiency. We analyze the effects down to the material level and assess the potential for optimization. Our ambition is to maximize the CTM-ratio for a variety of module designs by using a detailed and proven procedure of specific measurements and validated simulation models.

Our Cell-to-Module (CTM) analysis uses geometrical, optical, electrical, and thermal models to quantify performance losses in a module design. It allows for efficiency improvements and increased energy yield as well as systematic benchmarking of concepts and technologies to reduce R&D costs.

The benefits are:

  • increase energy yield with given Bill of Materials
  • minimize losses under changing conditions
  • rapid assessment of new module concepts and technologies
  • virtual energy rating and module benchmarking
  • cost savings in development and prototyping

Furthermore, our CTM analysis serves as a basis for any techno-economic cost assessment and ecological, or life cycle assessment, LCA, analyses to support road mapping, decision-making and product development processes.

Our Services for PV Module Manufacturers:

  • Systematic Cell-to-Module analysis of common and novel module designs
  • Material characterization
  • Shingle, full- and half-cell module optimization
  • Dimensioning of ribbons and interconnectors
  • Multiphysics modeling of optical, thermal and electrical characteristics of solar cells and modules
  • Angular and spectral irradiance measurements
  • Manufacturing of module prototypes and process development
© Fraunhofer ISE
SmartCalc.Module software helps reduce the cell-to-module power losses in PV module manufacturing.

Software SmartCalc.Module

We have developed the software tool »SmartCalc.Module« which is available as a free version (»SmartCalc.CTM«) and as an advanced version for professional use. The software analyzes the cell-to-module losses based on the material parameters and measurement data:

Current Research Projects


Research Project

KoMoGER – Competitive Modules »Made in Germany«

For PV module manufacturer Heckert Solar in Chemnitz "KoMoGER" develops a module technology  that enables the production of PV modules with an output of over 400 W.