Solar Flare is co-funded by the European Union and the regional governments and supports regional projects in the Eindhoven-Leuven region that focus on the development of thin-film solar energy with higher efficiency and lower cost.
Large-scale development and application of solar energy is one of the focus points in the European Climate policy and the EU 2020 strategy. The Solar Flare project aims at reducing the cost of solar energy by developing a thin-film PV technology as possible future alternative to the prevailing Si PV technology. To make thin-film PV a viable alternative to Si PV, the efficiencies of thin-film solar cells, which are currently around 13% for modules, should approximate the efficiencies of today’s mainstream Si PV modules of around 17%.
The Solar Flare project stimulates innovation and networking within the region, to promote the development of CIGS and alternative thin-film technologies which are based on novel materials, and of generic technologies that are vital to any thin film PV industry such as transparent conductive layers are being investigated. This type of surfaces must enable niche-applications such as solar cells integrated in windows, where not only cost but also aesthetic arguments and response to indirect light play an important role. In order to estimate the potential for local industries to develop thin film PV technologies, a specific Cost of Ownership model for TF-PV will be developed and used.
“Solar Energy will undoubtedly keep on playing an important role in the EU2020 strategy. To strengthen the position of our local industry in this global market, cross-border collaboration is essential. We therefore will keep on supporting open innovation in the region,” says Monique Swinnen, Deputy of the province of Vlaams-Brabant (Flanders) and member of the steering group Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands.
The project runs within the framework of Solliance, an initiative to leverage the complementarities of the Solliance partners and strengthen the competitive position of the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle (ELAT region) as a relevant player on the global thin-film PV market. Solliance creates synergy among more than 250 researchers. Within Solliance, research programs of the different research groups are aligned, state-of-the-art infrastructure is shared, and close cooperation with the solar business community is assured.
The Solar Flare interregional project is funded by the European Union, Interreg Flanders-Netherlands, Ministery of Economical Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (The Netherlands), and the provinces of North Brabant (The Netherlands) and Flemish Brabant and Limburg (Belgium). Partners within the Solar Flare project are ECN, TNO, imec, Holst Centre, TU/e and the University of Hasselt/IMO.
Imec (imec.be) performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China, India and Japan. Its staff of close to 2,000 people includes more than 600 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2011, imec's revenue (P&L) was about 300 million euro.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shangai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited).
UHasselt (uhasselt.be), Institute of Materials Research (IMO) investigates fundamental materials issues in domains of energy and health. In the Solar Flare project they bring in their expertise in precursor development and solution deposition of TCO materials.
ECN, the leading energy research institute in the Netherlands, very successful in the development of crystalline silicon PV technology; will transfer its entire thin film research group to Eindhoven.
Imec, a world-leading research institute in nanoelectronics, based in Flanders, participates with its OPV and CIGS PV research groups.
TNO (tno.nl), the leading Dutch institute for applied scientific research and strong in generic technologies; has transferred all its work on PV to Solliance.
Holst Centre (holstcentre.com), a joint research initiative of imec and TNO, joined Solliance with a focus on its work on roll-to-roll processes, mainly oriented towards OPV on flexible substrates.
The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a research-driven university with the primary objective of providing young people with an academic education within the engineering science & technology domain. In the research field the TU/e (tue.nl) has the objective to play a leadership role in the international scientific world and to make contributions to the knowledge-intensive industries and other sectors of the community with a high, or rapidly developing, technology intensity. The TU/e strives to ensure that its research results are translated into successful innovations. It's strategic areas are Smart Mobility, Health and Energy. The TU/e participates in Solliance with its research groups Molecular Materials & Nanosystems, and Plasma & Materials Processing.
Solliance is supported by the Dutch province of North Brabant, which has dedicated € 28 million to Solliance. This will fund a large shared laboratory in Eindhoven with the newest equipment, complementing the partner’s labs which are also available to the other partners.
Solliance : Hein Willems, Solliance managing director, T: +31 622 520099