A consortium entitled "Scalable High-power Output and Low-Cost MAde-to-measure Tandem Solar Modules Enabling Specialized PV Applications" (SOLMATES) was selected for a Horizon Europe project.
The consortium consists of 3 RTOs including the HZB (Helmholtz Center in Berlin for Materials and Energy), Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research), 5 universities including the Universität Innsbruck (project coordinator) and 6 SMEs. The SOLMATES initiative launched in December 2023 held an initial "kick-off" strategic research meeting on January 17-18, 2024, in Innsbruck, Austria.
The initiative is spearheaded by the consortium, with the current aim to engineer light-weight flexible tandem solar cells capable of functioning in various applications with superior efficiency compared to commonly used single-junction solar cells.
SOLMATES researchers aim to boost efficiency by making flexible perovskite-CIGS thin-film solar devices. In the realm of perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells, a few prominent research institutions including HZB have recorded efficiencies exceeding 30%. Such high efficiency, however, has never been achieved with flexible solar cells.
KIER, one of the members of the consortium, develops solar cell technologies not only for CIGS but also for perovskite thin-film devices. KIER achieved high efficiencies of 24.5% with 4-terminal perovskite-CIGS tandem solar cells and of 22.8% with flexible perovskite-CIGS 2-terminal tandem solar cells. Moreover, KIER and HZB have been actively coworking to develop light-weight solar cells in the last decade through personnel exchanges and joint authorship of academic papers. KIER, together with HZB, a key partner organization in SOLMATES, participates in advancing bottom device technology for flexible tandem solar cells.
Dr. Chang-keun Yi, President of KIER, expects that KIER will also forge partnerships with other leading European research institutes akin to HZB via the Horizon Europe program, exploring alternative avenues of energy research, further demonstrating the institutes' commitment to carbon neutrality. For example, initial discussions to broaden their partnership with HZB to include other energy technology fields such as hydrogen, energy storage, and catalysts have already begun.