Press Releases 2021

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  • Hybrid modules city hall Freiburg
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    After completion in 2017, the city administration building "Rathaus im Stühlinger" in Freiburg was measured and analyzed in detail during the first years of operation. The good news is that the targets set in the planning phase agree with the actual consumption data to a large extent. The building and the building systems are highly efficient. In a yearly balance, the total energy consumption for the building conditioning (heating, ventilation, lighting, domestic hot water heating) is met almost entirely by the renewable energy produced onsite. Thus, the goal of achieving a net zero energy building has been achieved.

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  • JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY FRAUNHOFER ISE, ÖKO-INSTITUT AND HAMBURG INSTITUT / 2021

    How the Building Sector Can Achieve Its Climate Targets After All

    May 11, 2021

    With the currently adopted climate protection measures, Germany will neither achieve its previous, nor the more stringent European, climate protection targets in the building sector by 2050. Two roadmaps from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the Öko-Institute and the Hamburg Institute show how this achievement, however, can be made possible. The research team presents the adequate measures and policy instruments with which decentralized heat generation no longer emits carbon dioxide, final energy consumption can be reduced, and heat grids can be expanded. The analyses and the roadmaps underline the great urgency with which policymakers must act: Most of the instruments should be introduced and implemented before 2025. The research results, including the detailed analysis and roadmaps, are presented in the study "The Systemic Challenge of the Heat Transition" which was commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency.

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  • Center for High Efficiency Solar Cells
    © Fraunhofer ISE / Photo: Guido Kirsch

    Fraunhofer ISE has been developing photovoltaic technologies, since it was founded forty years ago. Over this period, the institute’s research has contributed significantly to the establishment of solar electricity today as the most cost-effective form of energy supply worldwide. In order to maintain and strengthen its global leadership position in solar energy research, Fraunhofer ISE has now gained a new laboratory building, which was funded in equal parts by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF and the State of Baden-Württemberg. The new Center for High Efficiency Solar Cells was officially opened on April 27, 2021 in a virtual ceremony. In his welcoming address on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Fraunhofer ISE laboratory building, Minister President Winfried Kretschmann said: "In Baden-Württemberg, we have set ourselves numerous goals for climate policy, and solar energy plays a central role. With Fraunhofer ISE, we have had one of the most important solar research institutes worldwide right here in the State of Baden-Württemberg for over 40 years. I am therefore very pleased that we are again able to give cutting-edge photovoltaic research a powerful boost with the Center for High Efficiency Solar Cells, which I have the pleasure of inaugurating today, moving us towards becoming the number one climate-friendly state of the future."

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  • III-V//Si tandem solar cell
    © Fraunhofer ISE / Photo: Michael Schachtner

    Fraunhofer ISE has been conducting cutting-edge research in photovoltaics for forty years. Continually the institute has brought forth record cell efficiencies in different material classes and made important contributions in reducing the costs of solar electricity, which is the cheapest form of energy generation today. Photovoltaics, along with wind energy, is the central pillar of the energy transition. Aiming to further reduce the area required for PV installations as well as material use, Fraunhofer ISE is focusing on tandem photovoltaics. This cell technology allows the traditional efficiency limits to be exceeded by selectively combining different solar cell materials. The Freiburg researchers have again succeeded in setting a new world record with a monolithic tandem cell made of III-V and silicon semiconductors.

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  • Photovoltaic power plant
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    Next to wind energy, photovoltaics is the main pillar of the energy transition. While Germany and Europe in general are still leading when it comes to the research and development of solar cells and modules, the last ten years have seen the transfer of production to Asia. As a consequence, Europe risked losing its technological sovereignty and independence. This trend is starting to be reversed though. One reason is that the share of transport costs in the price of imported modules has increased, another that buyers are placing more value on sustainable production criteria than they did just a few years ago. Regional production has become affordable. In Spain, a start-up company called Greenland has embarked on setting up a highly-automated photovoltaic production line with an output of 5 gigawatts per year. The company uses a vertical integration strategy, which means that they cover the entire value creation chain, from the raw material to wafers, solar cells to solar modules. Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE provides consultation for the project. This covers factory planning, technical support as well as collaboration in the development of advanced cell technology. To ensure that the project can be successful within this highly competitive global market, state-of-the-art, fully integrated, industry 4.0 production technology will be employed. Bosch Rexroth will provide instrumental support with factory planning and construction.

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  • TOPCoRE solar cell
    © Fraunhofer ISE

    A team of researchers led by Dr. Armin Richter of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE achieved a record conversion efficiency of 26.0 percent for both-sides contacted silicon solar cells. In the recently published Nature Energy article "Design Rules for High-Efficiency Both-Sides-Contacted Silicon Solar Cell with Balanced Charge Carrier Transport and Recombination Losses", Richter explains the structure of the record-breaking cell and presents fundamental design-related aspects leading to even higher efficiencies. The design of the back-side cell surface as a full-area charge-carrier collecting passivating contact was key to the success.

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  • Press Release #2 / 2021

    Dual Yield on Arable Land: Guideline for Agrivoltaics Published

    February 22, 2021

    Agrivoltaics enables the dual use of arable land: Photovoltaic modules, which are mounted on a structure, generate renewable electricity and underneath agricultural crops grow. The approach increases land efficiency and could mitigate conflicts over the use of arable land in the future. A new guideline provides up-to-date information on the technology, its potential and the current state of development. The aim is to provide farmers, municipalities and companies with practical advice on how to use agrivoltaics. The guidelines, published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, also gives suggestions on how to adapt the existing legal framework to include this new technology. Fraunhofer ISE was the first to comprehensively test the agrivoltaics technology in Germany. The publication comprises 56 pages, is free of charge and is now available online for download in German and English.

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  • As the energy transition progresses, the expansion of the electricity grids is becoming increasingly important. More and more renewable generation plants as well as electrical storage systems are being connected to the grid. This gives power electronics a decisive role, because it is essential to connect these systems to the grid. However, in addition to the mere feed-in or feed-back of electrical energy, power electronics must also perform other grid-supporting tasks. In the "SiC-MSBat" project, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, together with partners, have now developed and successfully commissioned a highly compact inverter for direct feeding into the medium-voltage grid.

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