French solar module manufacturer Voltec Solar and the Institut Photovoltaïque d’Île-de-France (IPVF) have announced plans to set up a factory for four-terminal (4T) tandem perovskite-silicon solar panels in France. The “France PV Industrie” project aims to build a gigafactory for solar panels, with a dual objective: to produce more efficient solar panels locally and to create a sustainable industry, based on a fast-growing market and a breakthrough technology.
The IPVF and Voltec plan to create a joint venture (France PV Industrie) so they can secure the necessary financing to scale up to industrial production. The pilot line will require an investment of €15 million ($15.4 million) and the industrial demonstrator €50 million. The partners estimate the total investment at around €1 billion by 2030. The facility will make modules based on IPVF's 4T tandem solar cell technology. The two entities plan to set up the first pilot production line by the end of 2023 and the first 200 MW industrial demonstrator in 2025. They will then increase the factory's capacity to 1 GW in 2027 and 5 GW by 2030.
“This is a technological revolution that not only allows us to achieve a 30% efficiency at the photovoltaic module level, compared to the best efficiency currently achieved by traditional technologies, but also reduces the consumption of energy and materials necessary for manufacturing and makes use of materials from recycling,” says Roch Drozdowski-Strehl, Managing Director of the IPVF.
“The idea is to create what is called a technological brick and, once the industrial feasibility and profitability have been proven, to make the new product available on the European market,” said Lucas Weiss, Voltec general manager. “While most market players, such as Oxford PV or the CEA, are working on two-terminal perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells, we have taken a step aside with a 4T technology,” said Weiss. “With this approach, the thin layer of perovskite is placed on glass and the assembly is integrated into a standard silicon cell as an underlayer.”
The pre-industrial line must be set up in the premises of the IPVF “as quickly as possible,” as indicated by Weiss. He said that the orders for machines will take place as soon as the financing is validated. This pre-industrial unit will be used to validate manufacturing processes.