The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has announced a new R&D goal to develop a commercially viable thin-film-on-silicon tandem solar cell with 30% conversion efficiencies.

SERIS researchers will collaborate with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) of NRF on both III-V and perovskite materials, while SERIS will develop optimized silicon bottom cells.

In 2012, SERIS developed the world’s first all-back-contact silicon solar cell with efficiencies of over 20% using low-cost screen-printed metallization. The technology was later transferred to pilot production at an industrial partner.

Recently in 2017, the R&D center commercialized and licensed an advanced tool design and layer formation method - called “monoPoly technology” - for silicon solar cells with passivated contacts and produced the world’s first full-size bi-facial module with IBC (interdigitated back contact) solar cells.

In the downstream solar sector, SERIS noted that it would develop a multi-purpose floating solar (FPV) system that would be suitable for off-shore applications in sheltered waters like Singapore.

SERIS is already working closely with Singapore’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) and operates the world’s largest testbed for floating PV in Singapore, comparatively testing and evaluating 10 different floating PV installations from around the world.

SERIS noted in its 2017 annual report that preliminary results from the 1MW FPV testbed that it was generating more electricity per year than a corresponding rooftop PV system, due to the cooling effect of the reservoir.

SERIS is also initiating R&D efforts to develop low-cost, high-efficiency building-integrated PV (BIPV) modules and systems, including facades to support adoption in cities. SERIS noted that it would be working on high-efficiency, light-weight solar technologies that are aesthetically pleasing and yet economically viable.

SERIS is working closely with government agencies and the private sector to enable the SolarNova program, which aims to install 350MWp of PV systems on Singapore government-owned buildings by 2020.