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  • Multikristalline Weltrekordsolarzelle aus n-Typ HPM Siliciummaterial
    © Photo Fraunhofer ISE

    The multicrystalline world record solar cell made of n-type HPM silicon with an area of 2 cm x 2 cm. The cell has excellent antireflection properties; therefore the cell appears almost black with almost no detectable grain boundaries.

    The potential of photovoltaics (PV) has not yet been exhausted. Both industry and research continue to work intensively on increasing the efficiency and reducing the costs of solar cells, the basic component of every PV power plant. Now researchers at Fraunhofer ISE have produced a multicrystalline silicon solar cell with 21.9 percent efficiency, successfully bringing the world record back to Freiburg.

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  • Multikristalliner Silicium-Wafer
    © Photo Fraunhofer ISE

    Crystals have applications in a wide variety of fields. Photo of a multicrystalline silicon wafer, which serves as the basis of a solar cell.

    From March 8-10, 2017, an International Conference on Crystal Growth is to be held in Freiburg under the auspices of the German Association of Crystal Growth DGKK and the Swiss Society for Crystallography SGK-SSCR. The conference, jointly organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the Crystallography department of the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University Freiburg and the University of Geneva, is to be held in the seminar rooms of the Chemistry Faculty of the University of Freiburg. Furthermore, the Young DGKK will hold a seminar for young scientists at Fraunhofer ISE on March 7, 2017.

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  • Press Release #4 / 2017

    Reliability of TPedge PV Modules Successfully Tested

    7.2.2017

    TPedge-Modul mit 2 mm-Dünnglas während der Flächenlastprüfung
    © Photo Fraunhofer ISE

    TPedge module with 2 mm thick glass undergoing distributed load test.

    The TPedge concept reduces the material and production costs of PV modules, since encapsulation foils and the lamination process are no longer needed. At the same time, the aging stability of the PV module increases appreciably. In the project “TPedge,” researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with their partners have developed processes so that the innovative PV modules can be manufactured on an industrial scale.

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  • © Photo G.tecz Engineering GmbH

    TABSOLAR component made of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), manufactured via the membrane vacuum deep-drawing process.

    When integrating renewable energy into the building envelope, solar thermal plays a significant role. So far, solar thermal products were generally based on metal components that conduct heat, absorb a high fraction of solar radiation and emit little infrared radiation to prevent thermal loss. Using this state of the art technology, building integration and architectural aspects are however often neglected. In the »TABSOLAR II« project, Fraunhofer ISE, together with partners, is following the new approach to produce solar-thermal collectors made from ultra-high performance concrete. Suitable procedures have already been tested. The project team is now working on the next steps for later product manufacture and connection concepts for building integration. The current developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

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  • © Photo Fraunhofer ISE

    The web-based data visualization of the energy monitoring platform MONDAS provides a multitude of displaying possibilities that can be configured and structured easily by the user.

    Through optimized operation management, up to 30 % of building energy consumption could be saved. Even low-cost investment measures could result in optimization and significant reduction of costs. In order to save energy, a detailed analysis of the building operation is necessary. For this purpose, Fraunhofer ISE developed the energy monitoring platform MONDAS, which provides all components necessary for collecting, saving, processing and visualizing relevant time-series data regarding building operation. The platform successfully pools software modules to a high-performance overall system. It will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

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  • Press Release #1 / 2017

    Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

    16.1.2017

    © Photo Facade-Lab

    Visualization of a façade with strip collectors.

    Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

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  • SmartCalc.CTM
    © Photo Fraunhofer ISE

    With SmartCalc.CTM, Fraunhofer ISE has developed a software that helps reduce the cell-to-module power losses in PV module manufacturing.

    Research and industry invest lots of know-how in improving solar cell efficiency. In order that PV modules benefit from the advances in cell efficiency, the cell-to-module integration process must be performed reliably with low losses. With this in mind, the photovoltaic module group at Fraunhofer ISE developed the software SmartCalc.CTM, which enables manufacturers of PV modules and materials to optimize the assembly and material combination in a PV module, before fabricating a prototype.

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  • © Photo Fraunhofer ISE

    New materials enable high speed frequencies: Fraunhofer ISE develops resonant DC/DC converters with 2.5 MHz as demonstrator for aeronautical applications.

    The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power electronic systems in aviation applications more efficient.

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  • © Photo Fraunhofer ISE

    Prof. Dr. Eicke R. Weber, Director Fraunhofer ISE.

    On November 11, 2016 at the Konzerthaus in Freiburg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE honored Prof. Eicke R. Weber’s achievements at a scientific symposium on the global energy transformation. Having reached retirement age, Prof. Weber will step down from his position as Institute Director at the end of the year. Weber gave the German solar research a voice that is observed worldwide. With great enthusiasm he supported the energy transformation on both the scientific and political arenas. At the Institute, he organized the structure and business areas to optimally meet the demands of the energy transformation. From 2006 to 2016, he was able to double the number of employees to 1100 today. Over the same time period, the operating budget, based primarily on self-acquired projects, grew from ca. 25 million euros up to 73 million euros (2015).

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  • © Photo Fraunhofer ISE/A. Wekkeli

    Wafer-bonded III-V / Si multi-junction solar cell with 30.2 percent efficiency.

    Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with the Austrian company EV Group (EVG) have successfully manufactured a silicon-based multi-junction solar cell with two contacts and an efficiency exceeding the theoretical limit of silicon solar cells. For this achievement, the researchers used a “direct wafer bonding” process to transfer a few micrometers of III-V semiconductor material to silicon, a well-known process in the microelectronics industry. After plasma activation, the subcell surfaces are bonded together in vacuum by applying pressure. The atoms on the surface of the III-V subcell form bonds with the silicon atoms, creating a monolithic device. The efficiency achieved by the researchers presents a firsttime result for this type of fully integrated silicon-based multi-junction solar cell. The complexity of its inner structure is not evident from its outer appearance: the cell has a simple front and rear contact just as a conventional silicon solar cell and therefore can be integrated into photovoltaic modules in the same manner.

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