Press Releases 2019

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  • PV pilot plant
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Agrophotovoltaics (APV) allows for the dual harvesting of crops and photovoltaic electricity on the same piece of land, providing sustainable solutions under consideration of soil protection and water conservation. The first international conference on APV systems AgriVoltaics2020 will take place in Perpignan, France from August 26-28, 2020 under the motto “Launching Agrivoltaics World Wide.” The conference is organized by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and the PSE Conferences & Consulting GmbH in Freiburg.

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  • Efficient heat pump using the climate-friendly refrigerant propane
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    The use of environmental energy to supply heating results in less carbon dioxide emissions. Also the emissions from the electricity generation are steadily decreasing. Therefore, heat pumps are a key heating technology for the future. On the other hand, heat pumps still primarily use refrigerants that are harmful to the environment. Now researchers at Fraunhofer ISE, however, have developed a climate-friendly alternative, which uses propane, a natural gas. The greenhouse gas potential is about 500 times less than conventional refrigerants and thus extremely low. Another advantage is that the new brine-to-water prototype requires only one fourth of the refrigerant compared to conventional heat pumps available on the market at the same power. A propane heat pump based on this development would be the first-of-a-kind in Germany that is permitted in interior spaces of residential buildings without implementing additional safety measures. This new technology shall now be improved upon. For the heat pump industry, new refrigerants are especially important: As of January 1, 2020 first bans on harmful refrigerants take effect in the European Union.

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  • In-line etching equipment PV-TEC
    © Fraunhofer ISE/ Dirk Mahler

    From industry-driven solar cells with efficiency values of more than 22 percent to effective new metallization processes for contacting solar cells — the Photovoltaic Technology Evaluation Center (PV-TEC) at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg has enjoyed numerous technological successes. The research factory, which was rebuilt and significantly expanded in 2018, is the largest R&D center for crystalline silicon solar cells in Europe.

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  • Integrated PV
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Meeting Germany’s climate protection targets will require a significant expansion of photovoltaics. Depending on the scenario, up to 500 gigawatts of installed PV power output could be needed by 2050. To avoid land-use conflicts and public resistance to this massive expansion, minimizing the additional space occupied by solar modules and seeking out potential synergies is crucial. From September 9 to 13, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE will be at the EU PVSEC in Marseille (booth F 5) to introduce ideas and technologies for the successful integration of photovoltaics into the built environment.

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  • View inside of a screen printing machine
    © Fraunhofer ISE / Dirk Mahler

    Together with their project partners, scientists at the Photovoltaic Technology Evaluation Center PV-TEC at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg have succeeded in improving the traditional screen printing process for the fine-line metallization of silicon solar cells. Using specially developed fine-line screens, the project team was able to create contact fingers with a width of merely 19 µm and a height of 18 µm in a single printing step. This means that up to 30 percent less silver is needed, which in turn leads to a significant reduction in manufacturing costs.

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  • The demand for electric vehicles is increasing worldwide. To extend the driving range, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has developed a solar car roof with highly efficient solar cells. The roof can be coated in any color, with the solar cells integrated invisibly into the preformed solar roof. The photovoltaic cells with a nominal power of about 210 W/m² provide sustainable electricity for a daily mileage of about 10 km with an average electric car on a sunny day. Calculated over one year, the driving range can be extended by about 10 percent. At the joint booth of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Hall 4.1, Booth C 12) at the Frankfurt Motor Show IAA, Fraunhofer ISE presents two solar car roofs in different colors.

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  • Triple-junction solar cell made of III-V semiconductors
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have once again succeeded in raising the efficiency value of monolithic triple-junction solar cells made of silicon and III-V semiconductor materials. Using a combination of multiple absorber materials, these multi-junction photovoltaic cells exploit the energy from the solar spectrum significantly better than conventional silicon solar cells. The world record for a monolithic multi-junction solar cell manufactured by wafer bonding has been increased to 34.1% and an efficiency record of 24.3% achieved for a solar cell with the III-V semiconductor layers deposited directly on the silicon.

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  • Press Release #18 / 2019

    Power Electronics for the Energy Transformation

    4.7.2019

    Tour of the new laboratory center
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    On July 4, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg officially inaugurates its new Center for Power Electronics and Sustainable Grids. With a propriety connection to the 110 kV high-voltage grid and 40 MVA transformer, the new center offers a worldwide unique research infrastructure which enables it to meet the growing demands on power electronics, a key technology for the energy system transformation.

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  • International photovoltaics experts
    © NREL

    The dramatic decline in the price of PV-generated electricity and the rapid expansion of production capacities make PV a game changer in the global energy system. In the future, solar power will not only be relevant for the electricity sector, but will also supply the transportation and heating sectors as well as industry and chemical processes. This presents both opportunities and challenges – on the energy system level as well as for R&D and industry. Leading international PV researchers gathered by the Global Alliance for Solar Energy Research Institutes describe the key points of the future developments in an article which appeared on May 31, 2019 in »Science«.

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  • In a panel discussion at the Intersolar Europe in Munich, experts from industry, research and associations addressed the exciting question “Would a PV factory in Germany/ Europe be realistic?” The chances and possibilities of re-establishing a photovoltaic production in Germany and Europe were discussed. The panel discussion was based on the first results of a study carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE commissioned by the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA).

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