Press Releases 2020

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  • Higher efficiencies for solar cells and thus a faster expansion of photovoltaics and an acceleration of the energy transition – This is the objective of the researchers at Fraunhofer ISE when working on tandem photovoltaics. They will present the latest results of their work on tandem solar cells of different material classes at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition EU PVSEC, which will be held online from September 7-11, 2020.

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  • Among solar thermal power plants, solar tower systems are considered to have the greatest potential in terms of efficiency and cost reduction. In particular, costs can be saved on mirrors (heliostats), which account for between 30 and 40 percent of the investment. Frequent calibration or control of the heliostat aim points is one approach. In the HelioControl project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE developed a calibration and control system based on digital image processing for heliostat fields. With this method, the aim points of many heliostats can be determined for the first time during operation in a timely and cost efficient manner.

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  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and Professor for Solar Energy Systems at the University of Freiburg, was appointed to the new Expert Council on Climate Issues by the German Cabinet. The independent panel of experts, consisting of five scientists, will advise the German government on the implementation of Germany’s Climate Action Law.

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  • Press Release #20 / 2020

    New Record Efficiency for Tandem Solar Cell Technology

    August 10, 2020

    Layer structure of the III-V/Si multi-junction solar cell, quantum efficiency and IV characteristics under at AM 1.5g spectral conditions.
    © Fraunhofer ISE /Photo: Markus Feifel

    In the field of photovoltaics, intensive research is being carried out to continually improve solar cell efficiency. Increasingly, the focus is on tandem photovoltaics, in which high-performance solar cell materials are brought together in various combinations in order to use the solar spectrum even more efficiently when converting light into electrical energy. Fraunhofer ISE is now reporting a new record efficiency of 25.9 percent for a III-V/Si tandem solar cell grown directly on silicon. This cell was produced on a low-cost silicon substrate for the first time – marking an important milestone on the way to economical solutions for tandem photovoltaics.

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  • To meet the evolving needs of climate change and the German energy transition, as well as combat the rising energy costs for end consumers, more and more households are adding home storage systems to their PV systems. A major challenge of PV home storage is that the batteries are charged within a few hours in intense sunlight and then discharged at very low power, or partial load, over a long time period during the night. Because of this, battery inverters in home storage systems should have high conversion efficiency over the largest power range possible. In the HyBaG project, which started in 2017, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in collaboration with Kaco New Energy and STS - Spezial-Transformatoren Stockach has developed a low-loss hybrid inverter which functions efficiently even at partial load. With the new inverter, private households can save up to 250 euros annually.

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  • Demonstrator with rotary printing technology
    © ASYS Automatisierungssysteme GmbH

    Unprecedented precision and speed are the outstanding features of a novel high-throughput system for the metallization of silicon solar cells and other functional printing applications. The system is able to realize high-precision coating processes using rotary screen printing and flexographic printing with a throughput corresponding up to 8000 components per hour on an industrial scale. The demonstrator machine was developed by a project consortium under the joint leadership of the ASYS Automatisierungssysteme GmbH and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. In addition to solar cells, the system enables high-precision printing on single components, e.g. for applications in the field of hydrogen technology, sensor technology or power electronics.

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  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE just presented the data on the net electricity generation for the public power supply for the first half of 2020, which is based on data available on the Energy Charts platform. At 55.8 percent, the share of renewables set a new record. In February, their share even reached a new high of 61.8 percent. In the first six months of 2020, solar and wind fed a total of 102.9 terawatt hours (TWh) into the public grid, compared with 92.3 TWh in the first half of 2019. By contrast, coal-fired power generation declined sharply, with the share from lignite falling to 13.7 percent and hard coal to just 6 percent. Wind power was again the strongest contributor, accounting for 30.6 percent.

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  • Section of a parabolic trough power plant near the town of Ouazazate in Morocco
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Within a few months, the COVID-19 crisis added a dramatic level of urgency to act – beyond single national interests. In light of the current discussion on the Green Deal launched as a strategic priority by the European Commission, a joint statement has been co-signed by 176 companies, R&D entities, and associations across Europe. The initiative lead by the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association (ESTELA) is calling for recognition of the European solar thermal industry’s important role in the fight against climate change and in providing immediately available solutions to decarbonize energy systems.

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  • CalLab PV Modules solar simulator

    CalLab PV Modules of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has been re-accredited by the German Accreditation Body (DAkkS) as an independent calibration laboratory according to the new standard DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025: 2018. The laboratory reached a record measurement uncertainty of 1.1 percent in the calibration of photovoltaic modules. The measurement reproducibility has only 0.2 percent deviation.

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  • miniplant for research on methanol synthesis
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Methanol will gain importance as a chemical energy carrier in the course of the energy transformation. As part of the "Power-to-Methanol – Green Methanol" project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE successfully commissioned a miniplant for methanol synthesis –the production of methanol from hydrogen and CO2 – in December 2019. Featuring a measurement technique with high temporal and spatial resolution, the setup enables researching methanol synthesis, among other things, within the framework of so-called Power to Liquid processes on an industrial scale. Here, the main focus of the investigations is on dynamic reactor operation and unconventional gas compositions using hydrogen produced by electrolysis and gas streams containing CO2.

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