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PhotoVoltaic European Research Infrastructure

Final Report Summary - SOPHIA (PhotoVoltaic European Research Infrastructure)

Executive Summary:
This project was aiming to join forces within European PV research to offer better services for researchers from academia and industry. It was set up to promote on a large-scale an increased coordination in order to:
1. avoid unintended duplication;
2. avoid unnecessary investment;
3. get more value out of the same budgets. « Working together to progress faster or to learn more », on activities such as:
• Benchmarking of characterisation methods,
• Validation of simulation models with a larger number of data to increase the confidence level.

In the three types of activities, the main outcomes can be summarized as follows:

1. Joint research activities
These activities improved and upgraded the services provided by the European research infrastructures through four topics, thanks to a better understanding of the various mechanisms and processes:
1. Greater accuracy of rated power and energy output prediction of PV modules & systems;
2. Quicker lifetime prediction of PV modules though accelerated ageing tests and improved failure analysis procedures;
3. Improved Material characterisation procedures dedicated to:
• silicon material,
• thin films and TCOs,
• and organic solar cells.
4. Improvement and validation of software infrastructure for material, cell, module and system modelling.

2. Networking activities
These activities provided exchange of know-how and best practices, better coordination and joint development of the Research Infrastructures, along eight selected topics.
• training performed:
• 18 networking seminars and workshops
o 200 participants from 27 countries
• 30 webinars
o 830 participants in total (+ 100 in live streaming)
o Majority of non-SOPHIA members (around 65%)
• 30 exchanges of personnel

• 11 common databases developed :
• Listing of test- and analysis capabilities: 6 databases
o TNA infrastructures,
o TCO test facilities,
o PV systems and smartgrid test facilities,
o PV module test equipment,
o accelerated ageing test procedures,
o silicon imaging techniques.
• Sets of measurement data and test results: 3 databases
o irradiance,
o PV performance,
o silicon material.
• Overviews of modelling tools: 2 databases
o Database of module power- and energy prediction models,
o Database of modelling tools.

• Contribution to Test procedures and standards:
• Common procedures for testing and characterising PV materials, modules and systems have been studied: 5 Round Robins (in silicon material, OPV, thin films and CPV) and a large test plan have been carried out.
• Contributions to IEC TC82 WG2 & WG7.

• Definition of common objectives per topic
A Strategic Research Infrastructure Agenda has been written (“strategic vision on photovoltaic research infrastructure” brochure).

3. Transnational access activities
Transnational access activities provided free of charge and open access to 48 research infrastructures offering the researchers various services, through a single entry point:
• Prototyping,
• Better characterisation of materials and innovative technologies,
• Performance characterisation and lifetime prediction of PV modules,
• Modelling of cell, module and systems.

● 8 calls for research proposals were organised
● 68 proposals submitted in total, out of which 42 research activities did actually take place.



Project Context and Objectives:
Many different Photovoltaic (PV) research facilities exist all over Europe. Some of them are considered unique (i.e. BESSY3 in HZB, Berlin or the Super Computer in FZ Jülich), while others can be found in different places across the continent.
The SOPHIA RI project was the first European initiative to promote large-scale coordination in order to:
1. avoid unintended duplication and unnecessary investment;
2. get more value out of the same budgets. “Working together to progress faster or to learn more”, within activities such as :
• Benchmarking of characterisation methods,
• Validation of simulation software with a larger number of data to increase the confidence level.

Main Goals
• Strengthen and optimise PV research capabilities, mainly by coordinating efforts on important but precompetitive topics.
• Address the issues of fragmentation and costly duplication of research at the European scale. Large research infrastructures working together will avoid the useless replication of a large number of small efforts.
• Bring together the main European Photovoltaic Research Infrastructures in order to provide the scientific community with common referential to con¬duct efficient and coordinated research work in the field of PV technologies.

Selected topics
The project focused on 8 topics covering most of the PV value chain:
• Silicon material
• Thin films and TCOs
• Organic PV
• Modelling
• Concentrated PV (CPV)
• Building-Integrated PV (BIPV)
• PV Module lifetime
• PV module and system performance

Most of the networking activities (training, workshops, staff exchange, standardisation activities) were organised along these eight topics.








Project Results:
1.3.1 NA 01 (WP1) : Joint management of access provision and pooling of distributed resources (WP leader : Philippe Malbranche, CEA- INES)
Trans-national Access Activities (TNA) achievements:
The objective of the Trans-national Access Activities (TNA) within SOPHIA is to offer to the industry, research centers, and universities a free of charge access to the existing research infrastructures (RI) of the SOPHIA partners.
Access to research infrastructures
A large panel of testing platforms were proposed, covering most aspects of solar photovoltaics.
In total, 48 research infrastructures (test platforms) from 17 European SOPHIA partners were proposed, covering 8 PV topics: BIPV, thin films, module lifetime, system performance, OPV, Modelling, Silicon and CPV.
These European PV platforms offered various types of services, typically:
o Prototyping
o Better characterisation of materials and innovative technologies,
o Performance characterisation and lifetime prediction of PV modules
o Modelling

Figure 1: List of research infrastructures offered by SOPHIA partners

Proposals
From January 2012 to December 2014, 8 calls for research proposals were organized and 68 research proposals were submitted in total.

Figure 2: Number of application per TNA call

Applicants
The respondents of these calls for proposals can be categorized into 3 types of users, which are quite well balanced in terms of request proportion (majority of universities):

Figure 3: Repartition of the type of applicants

Topics addressed
The 8 proposed topics are covered by the proposals, but not uniformly, as visible on the following diagram:

Figure 4: Repartition of the topics of the TNA proposals

The most popular topics addressed were Silicon and CPV, followed by Modelling, OPV and module performance.
RI hosts:
Through a selection process to assess the degree of innovation (evaluation by independent topic experts), 52 TNA access were eventually granted and 42 actually took place (10 proposals were dropped from applicants for various reasons).
Research infrastructures of 15 partners were used:
Host infrastructure # projects hosted
Fraunhofer-ISE 7
CEA-INES 7
HZB 5
IES-UPM 4
CREST 4
Jülich 3
DTU 3
Tecnalia 3
ENEA 2
SINTEF 2
IMEC 1
AIT 1
ECN 1
RSE 1
EC JRC 1
Enel 0
VTT 0
Figure 5: Number of hosted TNA proposal per RI

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D1.1: Infrastructure database
D1.2: Transnational user access procedures
D1.3: Report on the call preparation and proposal selection
D1.4: Recommendations for NA02 "strategic vision"

1.3.2 NA 02 (WP2) : Expert groups for a PV Infrastructure Strategic Vision (WP Leader: Jan Kroon, ECN)
The “Strategic Vision on PV Research Infrastructure” is an important finale to the SOPHIA project, integrating the lessons learned from the project and proposing a new PV research infrastructure strategy for the coming years. It will serve as a proposal to ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures, which is a platform of experts with a mandate to look into Europe’s research infrastructure (RI) needs.
Within the SOPHIA project and, we expect, the wider PV community, there is increasing consensus on the need to overcome fragmentation and to cooperate on the development and use of research infrastructures because:
• Funds for investing in RI are limited;
• Continuous investment is needed to keep the RI at the highest level;
• Sharing helps resources to be used optimally;
• It can assure faster and efficient achievement of critical mass, i.e. sufficient research activity on a topic for new ideas to be generated readily and the topic to attract interest and talent.
These key points represent the practical translation of the objectives of EERA-PV, namely to ensure the implementation of the strategic research agenda beyond the SOPHIA project. There is also an increasing need to address the various means of supporting technology transfer to, and innovation within the industry. Although not initially part of the SOPHIA project, throughout the project, pilot lines were found to be one of the key components in supporting these required developments. The importance of different kinds of RI to different parts of the value chain is given in Figure B.
The Strategic Vision represents the consensual view of the 20 partners of SOPHIA (European research centres, EPIA and EUREC) on RI for photovoltaic energy. The proposal is detailed in the following chapters:
Chapter 1 describes in short the context and the scope of the document,
Chapter 2 discusses current trends in the access and use of photovoltaic RI from the entire PV field: silicon materials, organic PV, thin films, concentrator PV, module lifetime, module and system performance, modelling and building integrated PV,
Chapter 3 identifies the future needs by setting up a whole range of multi-purpose RI addressing all the PV value chain from lab to fab and the market,
Chapter 4 provides concluding remarks and recommendations.
The evidence base for the SRIA is written input from the members of the SOPHIA consortium with expertise in certain specific fields of PV technologies, who have been consulted in a structured manner. Drafts of the SRIA were presented to the whole consortium at project General Assemblies taking place in April 2013, November 2013 and March 2014. Suggestions for improvements were taken up, especially during the Part 1 of the final event, in September 2014. The document can therefore be taken to represent the view of the consortium.

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D2.1: Yearly progress report for each task 2.1 to 2.8
D2.2: Consolidated public yearly progress report on PV Infrastructure Networking Activities
D2.3: Contribution of SOPHIA to EERA Work Programme
D2.4: Strategic vision document on PV Research Infrastructure

1.3.3 NA 03 (WP3) - Interoperability benchmarking, Definition of test procedures, Common database (WP leader: Michael Koehl, ISE-IWES)
The final objectives of this workpackage were mainly to:
- Organize networking seminars and workshops
- Provide harmonised databases within common criteria on several topics,
- Develop common test procedures and organize feedback and exchange information with standardisation committees
Networking seminars and workshops
The many SOPHIA courses offered opportunities to experienced researchers and senior scientists to deep in research and technical themes different from their own to improve collaboration and take profit from the cross fertilisation of different field of science and technology as subsidiary instrument to do better and more efficiently their own work.
Training courses focused on the exchange experiences and best practices, aiming to harmonise approaches and assuring that participants could physically participate in the work, for example in making measurements independently interpreting data of selected results.
The following courses were offered during the four years of the project:
− Sophia Workshop on PV-Module Reliability “Interactive training course on EL & DLIT characterization of PV modules” held by ECN in June 2013;
− four Sophia international Workshops on PV-Module Reliability organized by FHG-ISE (April 2011), FHG-IWES (May 2012), JRC (June 2013) and CEA-INES (June 2014);
− four Spectroradiometer and Broadband Intercomparison held from 2011 to 2014;
− two workshop on PV Modelling infrastructure: The modelling chain (2011) and PV performance modelling 82013) organized respectively by FZ- Jülich and CEA-INES;
− two BIPV Workshops – the requirements and peculiarities of PV in buildings organized by CEA-INEs in 2013 and 2014;
− “Best practices for power measurement of PV modules” held by JRC in July 2014;
In the tight collaboration with NA04 (W4) the following training workshop/courses were also offered:
− two workshop on analytical tools for PV organized by HZB (November 2012 and June 2014);
− three summer schools ISU Energy on Solar energy, wind energy, economics of renewable energy held in Falera, Switzerland (august 2012, 2013 and 2014);
− A huge amount of guest lectures by researchers addressing a topic of relevance to PV research infrastructure offered in different Universities and organisations (during the whole project);
− Short on-line courses and webinar offered by SOPHIA e-learning platform (see following paragraph for details) (during the whole project).
Extra information on courses can be directly found on SOPHIA web site News&Events >past events> at http://www.sophia-ri.eu/news-events/past-events/
Development of common databases
The good use of the infrastructure shared within the SOPHIA project is achieved through the development of common databases on users, infrastructures and procedures. The eleven following databases have been created and maintained (the location can be asked from the coordinator):
• Measurement of irradiance and spectral data;
• Monitoring data for a mono-crystalline module;
• BIPV database;
• Inventory of available module level qualification test and analysis equipment;
• TNA infrastructure database;
• Silicon material and imaging databases;
• Database for the collection and management of various photovoltaic measurement data ;
• Module power- and energy prediction models ;
• Accelerated testing procedures and degradation phenomena;
• Database on TCO testing facilities;
• Database of DER and Smart Grid Research Infrastructure.
Development of common testing procedures
SI Material
A good agreement was reached and the confirmation of the published mobility model was obtained. The bifacial round robin was successfully finished. The results will be directly transferred to the standardization working group. A good agreement in the course of the lifetime round robin was achieved for most important parameter range, if carrier lifetime measurements are realized in the comparable and well defined way as established in the project.
OPV
A number of round robin activities were carried out within the topic of OPV technologies related to accurate characterization of initial performance both in indoor and outdoor conditions, as well as stability testing of OPVs under various conditions and barrier property testing of barrier materials for OPV encapsulation. Two particular outcomes can be highlighted:
1. Accurate characterization of initial performance of various OPV devices and modules were conducted among 16 laboratories with the purpose to harmonize the test procedures among the partners and test the suitability of the sample architecture for reproducible testing. Based on the results a set of guidelines were developed for device production and accurate testing, published at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2013.09.034
2. Comparative stability studies of OPV modules were carried out among a number of partners in order to establish a general methodology for lifetime intercomparison of OPV samples. This has also set off the process of developing a lifetime prediction tool based on gradual buildup of data via the aforementioned diagram (the project is ongoing). The results of the stability studies and o-diagram description are published here:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2014.07.013
and http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.solmat.2014.06.031
Thin Film
Two main activities were carried out and directed towards the development of common testing procedures for thin film devices, namely:
- Improving the energy rating of multi-junction thin film devices
Here, the development and improvement of energy rating procedures for thin film tandem devices were the main task. In order to obtain data for this development, a thin film measurement round robin was conducted. The results have been described in deliverable D11.7 (Validation of characterization procedure for fast tandem call IV measurement). However, the round robin will be repeated with thin film tandem cells with housing and connectors and the results of both rounds will be used to refine the characterisation procedures.
- Evaluation of a pre-treatment procedure for thin film devices
The second module round robin (JRA 2, Sub-Task 3) was designed to integrate thin film modules and check their need for specific pre-treatment procedures. The results of that round robin are described in the JRA 02 section of this document.
CPV
The main goal of the CPV activities within SOPHIA is the support of the standardization activities within the IEC technical committee 82 working group 7 (IEC TC82 WG7). Here the focus is on the power rating procedures for CPV modules and systems as this is seen as one of the most urgent needs of the CPV community. In this context the first international CPV module round robin has been planned (NA2) and successfully executed (JRA2). The initial results and findings of the round robin activity helped to further improve the draft standard IEC 62670 3 “Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) - Performance testing - Part 3 - Performance Measurements and Power Rating”. The intermediate results of the round robin have been presented at both semester meeting of IEC TC82 WG 7 in Albuquerque (April 2014) as well as in Ispra (September 2014) and successfully submitted for the CPV power rating draft standard IEC 60670 3 as NWIP (new work item proposal) to the IEC in November 2014. This can be seen as a big success also for the CPV subgroup of the SOPHIA project.
Module Lifetime
The test-plan for climate chamber testing of three different types of PV modules was completed as part of the work in JRA01. The results allowed a comparison of the approach to testing and characterization between the institutes involved in the test-plan to be made.
In addition, a quality assurance test sequence was proposed, based on the results of the test plan and on the desire to develop a test sequence that would allow prediction of life time expectancy for modules. The test sequence consists of a series of accelerated stress tests performed at two or more temperatures. The tests are chosen to represent a stress that would be seen in the field. The test sequence was evaluated in JRA01 with UV, damp-heat and dynamic mechanical loading as the accelerated tests. The aim is to propose a uniform test standard for quality assurance.
Module & System Performance
This sub-task is linked to the work of the expert groups NA02.7- module and system performance, and NA02.8- BIPV, as well as JRA02 "Greater accuracy of PV modules rated power and energy output prediction of PV modules".
Alongside the STC measurements, low irradiance conditions and temperature coefficients measurements were performed. The largest measurement deviation from the median at STC was for HIT modules from -3.6% to +2.7% in PMAX. Larger deviations from the median from -5% to +3% in PMAX at low irradiance conditions and -6.6% to +18.3% for the PMAX temperature coefficient were observed. The results of the round robin on thin film modules were available for 7 laboratories at the end of the project. The preliminary results highlighted difficulties with pre-conditioning for some technologies.
All these findings have implications for future updates of the IEC standards concerning power calibration and temperature coefficient determination, but they are also relevant to the proposed new standards work item on module energy rating in the IEC 61853 series.
Concerning BIPV, SOPHIA modelling results are relevant to efforts to standardise the thermal and electrical performance characteristics, which are being addressed in a proposed CENELEC standard prEN 50583-1:2014 Photovoltaics in buildings - Part 1: Modules.

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D3.1: Organisation of networking events on at least three selected topics
D3.2: Report on "Task 3.2: General criteria for laboratory work and equipment management"
D3.3: Common reference database are established
D3.4: Development of inter-comparision protocols and harmonised test procedures
D3.5: Yearly report on contribution to sandardization committees

1.3.4 NA 04 (WP4): Exchange of personnel, spreading of good practices, and training courses to new users, summer school (WP leader: Francesco Roca, ENEA)
The SOPHIA project offered various opportunities for staff working in one organisation member of the consortium as well as non-SOPHIA partners to receive training related to the use of equipment and test procedures in PV research infrastructure:
▪ The individual actions (internal/external courses, personnel exchange, etc.) were currently planned through the Human-Mobility and learning work Plans (HM&LP), which were updated and implemented during the execution of each annual programme:
▪ Exchanges happened over a timescale ranging from 1 day to 6 weeks with a targeted population ranging from technicians, junior researchers to senior researchers.
▪ It was based on senior researcher/expert coming to a host organization offering them opportunities to deepen technical-scientific themes on deposition techniques, characterization of materials and devices, performance and life time testing, accuracy of measurements and characterization, validation of models and computational procedures, etc. (duration 2-3 days)
▪ Specific training targeted initiatives were also offered for short stay in a hosting organization having relevant scientific reputation in the field to both students /researcher at the beginning of their carrier and experienced researchers would deepen research activities in field different from their own.
▪ SOPHIA Internal and external courses focussed on the exchange experiences and best practices, aiming to harmonize approaches and assuring that participants, particularly who are at the initial stage of their career physically participate in the work, for example in making measurements, or doing by themselves data interpretation on selected results so forth, assisted by an expert.
▪ Participants were also requested to contribute to the interactive discussion, by giving a presentation, and when applicable courses were also open to any interested non-SOPHIA organizations.

Summary of Exchange actions:
Cross-border collaborations among organizations and individuals in knowledge sharing have been promoted and sustained by following actions:
▪ Short stay of permanent staff aimed for technical discussions, transferring technology and technical support including training of the staff at the host organization on a specific topic (total of actions: 5).
▪ Bilateral visit/meeting for mutual help, inter-comparison of models, common vision, test and round robin procedures, etc. (total of actions: 20)
▪ Exchange of new personnel resources: Students and early stage researchers willing to receive a research training in a SOPHIA host for a short period (2-6 weeks) (2 actions recorded).

Summary of Training actions
The SOPHIA training initiatives were based on:
■ Internal Courses: Short hands-on training courses intended to be run on specific and targeted topics relevant for SOPHIA partner organizations: Workshop on analytical tools for PV material characterization by means of the CISSY at the BESSY synchrotron and X-ray emission absorption/spectroscopy (XES/XAS) and photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS, UPS, HIKE)
▪ 2012: 15 students and young researchers from 11 different countries
▪ 2014: 14 participants from 9 countries
■ External Courses and Summer schools, courses having a wider scientific scope and involving external experts, addressing topics of relevance to PV research: ISUenergy summer universities in Falera, Switzerland which integrates different academic in Physics, Material Science, Material Engineering, Architecture, Sociology, Political Science and Economics to provide students with a solid foundation in photovoltaics, solar thermal technologies, wind energy, solar architecture, sustainability, smart grids and energy storage., LED lightening system
▪ 2011: 63 Participants from 22 countries and 12 fields of study
▪ 2012: 62 participants from 27 countries and 12 fields of study
▪ 2013: 52 participants from 24 countries and 10 fields of study
▪ Guest lecture of SOPHIA expert commonly invited to deliver a lecture to an external group of experts/students .(number of offered lectures: 8)

SOPHIA Webinars:
The full potential of the wide research areas of common interest of SOPHIA consortium partners and the availability of top-class scientists ready to transfer knowledge with the combination of technological capabilities offered by the utilization of SOPHIA 48 PV research infrastructures has been further exploited by SOPHi@webinar, the e-learning platform of the SOPHIA project.
SOPHi@webinar, has been designed and powered by ENEA in collaboration with all SOPHIA project partners. The lectures offered by Sophi@webinar covered all the 8 topics focused by the project. Sophi@webinar also proposed online short courses organised through several webinars focused on a common theme:
- Short course on CPV-Concentrated Photovoltaics indoor/outdoor Characterization (UPM, FhG-ISE, ENEA, CEA-INES Jan 2015)
- Different BIPV Perspectives Part I & Part II: : European/non-European research and market outlook and Landscape, Building-Integrated Photovoltaics and Performance Modelling , (CEA-INES, ENEA, FhG-ISE, AIT Jan 2015)
- Short on line course on "crystallisation of silicon" (SINTEF, Nov. 2014);
- Characterisation of Thin Film Solar Cell Layers By X-Ray Based Spectroscopy (HZB, may 2014);
- OPV testing and Existing Standards (JRC, DTU May 2014);
- Defects in Crystalline and Multi-Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells (ECN, FhG-ISE, SINTEF July 2014)
Uncertainty Estimations of PV Outdoor Measurements (DERlab, JRC, FH-ISE, FH-IWES, CREST, June 2013).
The on-line approach to knowledge exchange is very successful because time saving and reducing travel costs and it is widely diffusing for that. It creates a wider audience for training individuals in academies, research organization companies.
Several webinars (pdf, slides, videos) are also available on-line on Sophia Events page and Sophi@webinar portal. This is a great advantage also for those who, perhaps due to lack of time, would be unable to attend physical events.

Summary of offered webinars:
■ 30 webinars organised since March 2013
▪ around 2-4 events/month organised
▪ involving more than 40 speakers in 16 different events
■ 830 registrations of participants ( + >100 in live streaming)
▪ more than 560 different scientists/researchers/professionals participated
▪ widely represented by students and younger researchers
▪ Majority of non-SOPHIA members.
■ A balanced participation
▪ in respect to gender for both speakers and participants in comparison to events usually held physically has been achieved
▪ A very wide participation by country, covering also non-European countries (USA, Asia, South America, Australia, etc.)


Figure 6: SOPHi@webinar e-learning platform home page (http://uttp.enea.it/sophiawebinar)

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D4.1: Human mobility and learning plan
D4.2: Report exchange of personnel and internal training courses
D4.3: Report summer Schools

1.3.5 NA 05 : Dissemination of knowledge; internal and external communication (WP Leader: Philippe Malbranche, CEA-INES)
A SOPHIA website www.sophia-ri.eu was implemented and became operational early in the project.

Some examples
o frontpage

o Events:


o TNA calls:

o News (of publications, workshops and meetings):


The plan for dissemination and communication targeting specifically the industry was based on the following pillars: the website; participation in workshops, specific events and conferences and dissemination through mailings, newsletters, newsfeed and social network posts using the communication tools of the project partners.
• The SOPHIA website is used as much as possible for the dissemination of the foreground, the activities of the SOPHIA consortium and the work that is conducted within the TNA activities.
• Targeted mailings have been separately sent to around 1500 contacts to boost the proposals for the TNA. Furthermore, targeted mailings have been sent to more than 2500 contacts to invite them to the final Workshop and the Symposium.
• EPIA Solaris monthly newsletter with an outreach of around 15,000 people in the PV community was used to effectively support the Plan. Additional news items were created for EPIA’s website.
• Flyers, roll-up banners brochures, and posters have been printed in view of distribution during many events such as conferences and exhibitions and according to the expected participants in each event.
A “networking activities table” was used and finalized with all events and coordination activities organised. All the SOPHIA events are categorized according to their related WP, type of events, targeted audience (scientific or industrial), targeted topic(s), relation to one or several subtasks and deliverables, etc.
As final events, SOPHIA organised:
• a side-event at EU PVSEC, in Amsterdam in September 2014, as the final event “Part 1”
• a “Symposium on European PV Research Infrastructures” at INES on January 22, 2015, as the final event “Part 2”. 104 participants from 75 organisations (industry, research and ministries), from 23 countries attended the symposium.


The agenda covered 4 aspects:
• Session I: The EU R&D framework in the field of solar photovoltaics
• Session II: Main achievements of the SOPHIA project for researchers and industrial companies
• Session III: Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA)
• Session IV: Role of regions and member states for research infrastructures’ development
All Presentations can be downloaded from the SOPHIA website: http://www.sophia-ri.eu/index.php?id=76 .
Besides the outcomes of the SOPHIA projects, strategic directions of solar research in Europe have been debated.

Figure 7: View of the symposiums

A press conference was organized to disseminate Sophia project, its objectives, main results and recommendations. Three well known PV media of global reach were present; PV-magazine, PV-tech and Recharge that published articles:
http://www.pv-magazine.com/opinion-analysis/blogdetails/beitrag/industry-urges-european-pv-research-sector-to-wake-up_100017914/#axzz3QCpsfHMp
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/solar_rd_needs_systemic_shock_to_avert_death_of_european_pv

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D5.1: SOPHIA Internet website
D5.2: Progress report on the SOPHIA "Internet hub"
D5.3: Project identity set
D5.4: Plan for dissemination and promotion activities
D5.5: Plan for use and dissemination of foreground
D5.6: Progress report on dissemination to the scientific community
D5.7: Progress report on dissemination to industry
D5.8: Proceeding on the Interim Workshop
D5.9: Proceeding of the Final Forum
D5.10: Report on Dissemination activities
1.3.6 TNA 01 (WP7): Facilities for better experimentation and characterisation on materials and innovative technologies for PV (WP Leaders: Martha Lux-Steiner and Iver Lauermann, HZB)
Objectives
The objective of WP7 is to report on the results of the Trans National Access to Research Infrastructures program of SOPHIA with a focus on materials and innovative technologies (TNA 01), which, together with TNA 02 was one of the key features of the SOPHIA project. In this report an overview over the TNA 01 proposals and their evaluation and execution is given. The detailed report on TNA 01 is given in D7.1 (Report on the exchange of facilities in TNA01) together with the available individual reports submitted by the TNA 01 users.
Main achievements
Within TNA 01, a total of 24 research infrastructures (RI) were offered, which could be grouped according to the following technological topics of SOPHIA:
• Silicon material: 7
• Organic PV: 9
• Thin film PV: 4
• Modelling: 4
For these RIs, a total of 31 proposals were submitted and 28 of those received a positive evaluation. As of January 2015, 18 TNA visits have been completed including a final report.
After the first calls, the number of TNA 01 proposals was well below that expected by the SOPHIA members, which can be explained by the fact that the program had started without predecessor and was therefore not well known in the PV community. After increasingly promoting Sophia TNA at conferences, by direct mailings, and by holding training workshops, the number of proposals rose and an impressive number of TNAs have been completed by the end of the project. The scientific impact of all TNA visits is yet unknown, however, the number of scientific papers that will be published as a result of TNA will have a considerable share of the total number of papers originating from the SOPHIA project.
The additional impact on training and education of researchers about new instruments and methods relevant to their work should not be underestimated. Furthermore, new collaborations have been started and new European project proposal were started based on TNA visits.

Lessons learned and recommendations for future TNA
Although TNA users were mostly satisfied with the outcome of their TNA visits, many of the host organizations reported problems with the reimbursement of their TNA cost. This was due to the internal problem of calculating the access cost in a way that would be accepted by the EC. Since many partners in SOPHIA could not claim their real access cost because of that difficulty, a different funding scheme should be developed for future TNA programs. This could be e.g. the payment of a lump sum per visit or per hour of lab time without necessary justification of real cost. Otherwise it can be envisaged that many institutions will refuse to take part in future TN programs because they know that they will not be reimbursed.
Another problem with the SOPHIA TNA program was the insufficient information flow between proposers, coordinator and host institutions. Therefore in the future, there should be strict rules defining how all partners are informed about the progress of a TNA from proposal to evaluation and the final report. Reporting on the outcome of a TNA visit within 6 weeks after completion should be mandatory (e.g. one rule could be: no compensation of travel cost without report).
In many cases delays in TNA project were caused by the slow evaluation process, therefore the evaluation of proposals should be done within a certain limited period, e.g. 6 weeks after reception. Another delay was caused by the slow negotiations between proposer and host; again, clear rules are needed to make the process swift and transparent. Host and proposer should agree on the visit within, e.g. 2 months of positive evaluation and should report the results of their negotiation to the coordinator. Publication of TNA results should be completed within 1 year of TNA completion, including acknowledgment of TNA-funding.

List of performed TNA projects (WP7 type)
The following WP7 TNA proposals have completed their experimentations in one of the Research Infrastructure proposed by the SOPHIA partners (sorted per topic).

Acronym Organisation Title Topic Host RI requested
Concell Cyprus University Photoluminescence and spectral response measurements of III-V triple junction devices CPV RSE
HiTOp Martifer Solar S.A. Portugal Characterization and optimization of CPV optics CPV UPM
Polmol Antwerp University Use of EPR at 263 GHz to unravel the formation of polaron states in thiazolo[5,4-d]thiazole (TzTz) – based small molecules Organic PV HZB - EPR
PLCuI Aalto university, Espoo Photoluminescence based imaging of copper concentration in silicon Silicon material Fraunhofer ISE
ZSO/K University of Luxembourg, Laboratory for photovoltaics (LPV) Development and characterization of sputtered Zn(S,O)/Cu2ZnSnSe4 heterojunctions Thin Films Cissy (HZB)
DEF-HYDFT IES Madrid Defects in ZnO using hybrid density functional theory Modeling Julich
ANSSAL Delft Univ Advanced Nanostructured Silicon-Based Films for Stable Absorber Layers EPR spectroscopy HZB


Thincad University of Verona Ultra Thin CdTe solar cells Thin Films HZB
Graphocell Graphenea SA (S) Graphene in organic photovoltaic cells OPV HZB
ComSil NTNU Study of compensated silicon materials via advanced characterization methods Silicon CEA-INES
Compenor Disasolar OPV module encapsulation with composite materials OPV Tecnalia
Compenor II Disasolar Durability study of OPV modules encapsulated in composite
materials OPV Tecnalia
MUSAS-DEVICE University of Rome "Tor Vergata" Multiscale/Multiphysics device simulation of amorphous Silicon Solar cell Modelling Jülich
MUSAS-ATOMISTIC University of Bremen Multiscale Simulation of Amorphous Silicon Solar cell Modelling ENEA, ENEA Grid
Standardized OPV device stability evaluation Imperial College London Standardized stability evaluation of promising OPV devices from Imperial College OPV DTU (CLOP)
PrOxiTam Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2-CSIC) (S) Water-based Solution Processable Oxides as Recombination Layers for Tandem OPVs OPV DTU
ARTSOL Padova University (I) Accelerated Reliability Tests on organic SOLar cell OPV DTU
MD-Rut-DSSC Institute for Nuclear Sciences VINCA (Serbia) Metal Doped Rutile TiO2 as electrode in DSSC Modelling ENEA GRID
NanoSol University of Erlangen (D) Design and optimization of thin film solar cells with silver nanowires OPV (thin films) INES
HPSS Karlstads Universitet (D) High Performance Solar Silicon silicon Sintef
MOHP Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Modelling Organic Halide Perovskites Modelling Jülich JUROPA
CODE RESI NMBU (N) Correlation of defect luminescence and recombination in multicrystalline silicon Silicon Fraunhofer ISE
LIBSOSAM Silicor Materials (D) Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy for On-line control of Si-Al Melts Silicon CEA-INES
BASHEC École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (CH) Band Alignment at Silicon Heterojunction solar cells Electrical Contacts Silicon HZB
VeSil Vesuvius (Czech) Characterization of the effect of novel crucible coatings on silicon crystallization Silicon CEA-INES
FeTSi NTNU Iron transport in mc-Si Silicon Fraunhofer ISE
Solar Streetlight FASCOM SUNPLUGGED Compact Solar Streetlight PV module modelling modeling Tecnalia
BCU PV Crystalox (GB) Benchmarking, Characterizing and Understanding high-performance silicon properties during Al-BSF cell fabrication Silicon CEA-INES

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D7.1: Report on the exchange of facilities in TNA01

1.3.7 TNA 02 (WP8) : Facilities to develop harmonised vision on performance and lifetime of PV modules (WP Leader : Gerald Siefer, ISE-IWES)
WP8 TNA projects deals with improvement of performance and lifetime of PV modules. The objective of WP8 is to give access to facilities in order to develop a harmonized vision on performance and lifetime of PV modules through transnational access projects (TNA). The practical management and organization of the TNA calls is done within workpackage NA01.
List of performed TNA projects (WP8 type)
The following WP8 TNA proposals have completed their experimentations in one of the Research Infrastructure proposed by the SOPHIA partners (sorted per topic).

Acronym Organisation Title Topic Host RI requested
BECAR BECAR Best prototype Efficiency Concentration and Acceptance angle chaRacterization CPV IES-UPM
DuSOp Fullsun Photovoltaics Ltd Thermal and Spectral Dependence of Dual Silicone Optics CPV UPM
cSiPID Cyprus Univ. Experimental tests for the understanding of the potential-induced degradation and relaxation in standard crystalline silicon photovoltaics PV module AIT
BRING-OUT Voltinov Blue Response Impact aNd aginG effect On modUle performance raTio PV module Fraunhofer-ISE
PID1500 VOLTINOV (F) Study of the PID effect on modules serial connected until 1500Vdc Module Lifetime Fraunhofer ISE
ISCAEM VOLTINOV (F) Impact of Salt Corrosion on the Adhesion of Encapsulant and Module power Module Lifetime Fraunhofer ISE
PVUK-Compare EON New Build & Technology GmbH (D) Comparing PV Module Performance in the UK Module performance CREST
OUTMOD Jülich Outdoor cell and meteorological measurements for simulation chain verification Module performance CREST
ComPRI Soitec Solar Precompensation for Performance Ratio Increase of CPV-modules CPV IES-UPM
SPC-PV encapsulations Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH Strucutre-porperty correlation of polymeric PV encapsulations Module performance Fraunhofer ISE
BIF-PID Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) (Israel) Stability of Bifacial P-type cells and modules against Potential Induced Degradation Module performance CEA-INES
BIFITROPIC SUNENERGY Europe (D) Bi-facial tropicalized module lifespan & performance Module performance CEA-INES
PVSensor II PV Performance Labs Germany (D) Characterization of solar radiation sensors for PV performance assessments PV system performance CREST
PoNG Soitec (F) Power Rating of Next Generation CPV Modules CPV Fraunhofer ISE
List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D8.1: Report on the exchange of facilities in TNA02

1.3.8 JRA 01 (WP9): Quicker lifetime prediction though accelerated ageing tests and improved failure analysis procedure (WP Leader : Jan Kroon, ECN)
Initial objectives
The lifetime of a PV module is critical for PV manufacturers, developers and end-users as it directly affects the energy yield and so cost of a PV system. The standards IEC61215, 61646 and 61730 are considered excellent for identification of major design issues, but they do not include sufficient testing to be able to predict outdoor performance and lifetime.
The objective of the PV Module Lifetime Prediction work-package in the FP7 project SOPHIA was to investigate and establish the research infrastructure needed to develop a standard for lifetime prediction based on a number of combined stress tests of commercially available PV modules.
The goal of this sequence is to provide a tool to identify failure mechanisms and predict lifetimes for different climatic conditions for different module types.

Results
A test-plan was designed with 14 different test conditions including damp-heat at different temperatures and relative humidity, thermal cycling at different temperatures, combined damp-heat and UV-testing and mechanical testing with preconditioning. The tests were performed on sets of three different types of wafer based Si modules including a module with heterojunction cells, a module with a thermoplastic encapsulant and a conventional module. Degradation of the modules was followed by characterisation at intermediate steps during testing. The results of the test plan were used to identify and model the degradation mechanism and relate the degradation rate in testing to an expected lifetime in the field. The methods used will be put forward as a proposal for a quality assurance standard for PV modules.

Conclusions and recommendations
The work in this WP has demonstrated the value of a large project with several partner institutes, because the results received in this work-sharing manner fit together very well. The number of tests and logistics would have made an experiment of this size impossible to be performed by a single institute within such a short time. Spreading the tests between several institutes makes this feasible. It also allows the institutes to learn from each other’s approach to testing and characterisation and highlights the need for more standardisation of this type of tests and should ultimately lead to dedicated quality assurance plans for PV modules with aim to give a more accurate lifetime prediction in different climate zones. In order to achieve this goal, further development of improved module characterization tools and climate chambers with ability to combine environmental stresses is strongly required.
















Figure 8: caption Plot of degradation in damp-heat for a tested module and EL images of module A following degradation during damp-heat testing.

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D9.1: Listing of required and available testing at the various partners
D9.2: Round-robin: definition of test samples and test procedure
D9.3: Reviewing the test criteria for interconnect and encapsulation quality
D9.4: Aging testing on test samples completed
D9.5: Description of new test methodologies for lifetime prediction
D9.6: Modelling and verification of new test methodologies

1.3.9 JRA 02 (WP10): Greater accuracy of PV modules rated power and energy output prediction of PV modules and systems (WP Leader: Jens Merten, CEA-INES)
Module & System Performance
Initial objectives
A performance model round robin has been performed with the aim to evaluate the uncertainty of the various module productivity models and to split the uncertainty coming from the thermal module temperature models and the electrical models of the module power. Several partners of the European project SOPHIA predicted the module energy production and back side temperature.
Several types of modeling approaches for the electrical models are used during this round robin: neural networks, equivalent circuits, and empirical energy yield models. Furthermore, several thermal models are assessed which determine the module back temperature: the NOCT model, and a thermal model based thermal analog equivalent circuits which has been developed for the temperature modeling of PV modules integrated into buildings.

Experiments/Results
Outdoor monitoring data of different module technologies and locations have been provided by the project partners and uploaded to a centralized database. After a careful check, finally only five datasets with excellent data quality have been selected. Three months of data have been used to train and parameterize the models. Then, each model predicts the module power for each data point of the following twelve months. The assessment of the models’ output is done by one single SOPHIA partner for all models.
The electrical models tested were the Energy Yield Model, the MotherPV method and Neural Network. Temperature models tested were NOCT-Model, Analogical electrical equivalent circuits based on TRNSYS, Linear temperature function.
One of the main results is the excellent precision of modelled productivity, which can be only achieved when the module is characterised individually and the data quality is excellent. The power output errors (POE) where less than 1% for wafer based modules and less than 3% for thin film silicon modules. Regarding spectral effects, the use of short circuit current data for the measurement of the solar irradiation instead of a pyranometer does not improve quality of the model. Regarding the temperature effect, the use of modeled module temperature instead of measured temperature only slightly increases the error in output prediction. The errors from simplified linear temperature models cannot be reduced using more sophisticated models.

Recommendations for the future joint research activities
Further joint research activities should establish methods for precise modeling the productivity of complete PV systems which are assembled by PV modules which cannot be characterised individually. This requires a statistical characterization of sample batches of PV modules and a validation with test data from real size systems. On module level, a simplified performance evaluation parameter, for example a “module performance ratio” should be established, which will be only acceptable when it can be determined from cheap and simple lab measurements.

CPV
Initial objectives
Concentrator Photovoltaics (CPV) is a technology that has just started to enter the market. Although under development CPV still suffers of a lack of international standards. The International Electrotechnical Commission technical committee 82 working group 7 (IEC TC82 WG7) is responsible for the development of standards for CPV. The main goal of the joint research activities related to CPV within the SOPHIA project was to support these activities also with valid input and also real data.

Experiments/Results
The CPV JRA activities within SOPHIA were related to three topics:
- specification and influence of tracking accuracy (CPV uses trackers to assure optimum alignment of the modules to the sun)
- setting up of a spectral recording network and intercomparison of spectrally sensitive irradiance measurement devices (high concentration CPV uses multi-junction cells which show a higher dependence of their performance on changes in spectrum)
- definition of power rating procedures and testing of these procedures through a CPV module round robin (there is not yet an IEC standard related to power rating of CPV)
The focus of the SOPHIA CPV activities was on the latter point, which is related to the power rating of CPV. In this context a CPV module round robin has been established. At all stages of the round robin the IEC TC82 WG7 has been involved, including e.g. the formulation of the round robin guidelines. Initial results show very promising agreement between measurements at different partners’ sites with a maximum deviation of 4 %. The work within SOPHIA has helped to allow the IEC TC82 WG7 to officially submit the current draft for power rating of CPV modules and systems as new work item proposal (NWIP) to the IEC.

Recommendations for future JRAs
The work within SOPHIA has clearly demonstrated that joint research activities of different partners can serve as a strong instrument to accelerate standardisation work. The CPV module round robin set up and performed within SOPHIA helped to define and test procedures that now are implemented in the current draft standard for power rating of CPV. The main recommendation for future JRAs related to CPV is to give further support to intercomparison campaigns as started within SOPHIA. This includes a continuation of the efforts related to comparison of spectral measurements as this is still one of the impact factors on the power rating of CPV which’s potential influence on measurement uncertainty is not fully quantified. Additionally the CPV module round robin performed within SOPHIA can only be seen as a good starting point: It involved only modules from one manufacturer and it strongly recommended that such efforts should be performed on a regular base with different module technologies.

BIPV
Initial objectives
The main objective of the activities on BIPV topic in the SOPHIA project was to determine the impact of the installation method of BIPV modules on their energy output. More precisely, these actions aimed to realize:
- A benchmark of BIPV system testing and modelling methods.
- A white paper on BIPV requirements considering: energy output prediction, regulations, related building functions, cost compensation...






Figure 9: Test benches and experimental houses at CEA site, Fraunhofer ISE site and TECNALIA site

Experiments/Results
In order to achieve these results, various actions were led by the experts through the joint research activities and the networking activities.
- Modelling guidelines were proposed based on a state of art of suitable modelling methods considering thermal, optical and electrical behaviours of BIPV systems.
- Characterization guidelines and specific requirements of BIPV products were also defined based on outcomes of the first INES workshop on BIPV.
- A benchmark of modelling methods was performed and presented during a plenary session at 29th EU PVSEC (Plenary session, 6DP2.3 09/25, 9.50 - 12.10). This comparison showed that all models examined results in satisfying prediction of module temperatures. A ranking of the models was presented according to their impact on the accuracy of energy output prediction. It was noticed that a higher accuracy of the thermal model doesn’t lead to a higher accuracy of the prediction of the energy output. Finally, the linear model is a satisfactory method for preliminary performance determination.
- Moreover, a common database was developed in order to share BIPV systems tests results and for models validation.
List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D10.1: Guidelines for quality management
D10.2: Specific requirements for BIPV products characterisation
D10.3: Set up of the database and its internet access
D10.4: Software tool (specifications, guidelines) for data analysis
D10.5: Establishment of indoor measurement protocols and organisation of the Round Robin tests
D10.6: Recommended practices for power measurement and measurement uncertainty
D10.7: Cross-calibration studies with various sun simulators and preconditioning studies
D10.8: Results of the second Round Robin test and recommended practices
D10.9: Establishing an evaluation framework for modeling tasks
D10.10: Model verification with outdoor test data
D10.11: Requirement for Spectral irradiance measurements
D10.12: Guidelines for power rating of CPV systems
D10.13: Report on the impact of tracking and mechanical errors on the energy estimations
D10.14: Guidelines on power and energy rating of BIPV systems
D10.15: Evaluation of energy output of BIPV systems

1.3.10 JRA 03 (WP11): Improved Material characterisation procedures (WP Leader: Wilhelm Warta, ISE-IWES)
Thin films and TCOs
Initial objectives
Quicker characterisation of transparent TCOs for thin film devices by defining a figure of merit (FOM) including transmission, conductivity and scattering properties.
Characterisation of tandem cells in a round robin to determine the uncertainty of efficiency measurements.
The use of x-ray based surface analysis (XPS) for the characterization of compound semiconductor thin films.
Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) characterization of thin films: Identification and quantification of defects in thin film silicon.
Development of a pre-treatment procedure for thin film modules to increase the comparability of efficiency measurements

Experiments/Results
The definition of a figure of merit for TCOs was described in a report which will be used as starting point for future discussion.
XPS was used for the correlation of surface, interface and bulk properties of chalcopyrite thin film solar cells with device parameters. Especially the presence of sodium ions on the absorber surface was found to be correlated with surface oxidation, which has an impact on solar cell performance.
EPR was used for the identification of defects and the correlation of defect density with thin film silicon solar cell efficiencies. Visitors from various universities used the possibility of trans-national access to examine their samples in EPR@HZB lab.
The tandem round robin showed good agreement of the results of wavelength dependent current measurements and efficiency measurements at the different partner laboratories.

Recommendations for the future joint research activities
One outcome of SOPHIA regarding thin film PV was the importance of common standards for characterisation of devices, especially thin film tandem solar cells. This work should be continued in the future. The same is true for the pre-treatment (light soaking or forward biasing) of thin film modules, which can have a large impact on the measured efficiency of devices and which is far from being understood. In order to improve the comparability of flasher solar simulator-based characterisation of thin film modules, flashers should offer the possibility of altering the pulse length in order to account for metastabilities.
Other joint research activities for the future are the development of TCOs (with higher transmission, better conductivity, and certain scattering properties) based on current and new materials, the improvement of light management in thin film devices and the improvement of encapsulation materials, especially for flexible devices.

Figure 10: Comparison of tandem cell short circuit current densities using different solar simulators and measurement techniques

Silicon Materials
Initial objectives
The activity on Si materials is centered to the qualification of new emerging material and cell types by improved techniques and procedures. The two main objectives for this activity were:
1) The quality enhancement of R&D available to supporting industry. For that round robins should assure comparability of results on European level and the provision of data for new parameters.
2) The generation of data bases for silicon material R&D on metrology, materials and specifications.
Experiments/Results
In measurement round robins an extensive comparison for a wide range of Si-material related variables was done. Results for IV-characteristics, quantum efficiencies and reflectivities on industrial solar cells and precursors were published (see P. Manshanden et al., EU-PVSEC 2013). Intercomparisons of impurity detection (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy ICP-MS), carrier mobilities in compensated silicon, the demanding measurement of bifacial cells and of carrier lifetime complement this activity. Detailed overviews on (i) imaging techniques for material parameters, (ii) different available silicon materials and (iii) solar grade silicon specifications were elaborated. Results were disseminated and discussion stimulated in the frame of a large workshop on “Challenges for Photovoltaic Silicon Materials” (Rome, Oct. 2013) as a worldwide platform for industry and research groups to discuss programs and future targets. A survey about scenarios for strongest cost reduction was conducted among experts during preparation of workshop and reported in “Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells” 130 (2014) 629.

Recommendations for the future joint research activities
The development and production of silicon material suitable for high efficiency solar cell technologies is at present seen as an important target by the majority of market contributors. A strategy to bring the leadership in cost effectiveness back to Europe is needed. Europe has already a wealth of individual centres of excellence, where material development work towards this aim can be done.
In silicon materials research, networks of people are needed more than new hardware. It is by linking scientists that the challenge of finding a low-cost material for 23% efficient cells can be met and procedures for reliably and quickly evaluating silicon materials can be established. Industry has to be kept close to the network. Ownership models for newly generated intellectual property have to be developed which are suited to attract companies to entering into a contract with the network and providing co-funding. Preferably, several companies may jointly share this relationship to the network.
Important topics of the network could be n-type silicon and directionally solidified material of quality and/or crystal structure as close as possible to single crystalline silicon. Thus information flow between the two approaches to high efficiency should be facilitated.

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Figure 11: Consortium for comprehensive round robin on carrier lifetime metrology. In addition to the SOPHIA-partners international experts were included in this activity which complemented the expertise on lifetime measurements of the SOPHIA partners

Organic Photovoltaics
As a technology on a verge of industrialization, organic photovoltaics (OPV) are in a critical need for fast screening tools, harmonized characterization procedures and product design/performance qualification protocols. Thus, in the framework of SOPHIA the OPV team has set objectives to aid the process of establishing standards and protocols for device designs, characterization and stability testing.
In that regard four interlaboratory experiments were conducted, where various OPV samples were produced and shared among partners and characterized with various techniques. The first two studies, which involved sharing and accurate determination of performance for various samples, addressed the architectural challenges of the samples and the availability of accurate testing equipment and reproducibility of test procedures in different laboratories. The third study focused on lifetime determination and prediction for various OPVs by comparing the sample performance under moderate and accelerated ageing conditions. The final study analyzed the links between the barrier properties of the encapsulation material, the intrinsic stability of the absorbing polymer and the lifetime of the complete devices. The aim of the latter was to rate the lifetime of the final product based on the individual performance of its components. All four studies were conducted in collaboration with EERA partners. The results were also published in articles and communicated to standardization committees via the annual International Symposiums of OPV Stability (ISOS).
The studies revealed a number of important issues. Significant deviations of test results during accurate characterization of samples among different laboratories were recorded, which were caused by deficit of appropriate testing equipment and lack of experience. In addition, while the significant amount of data generated throughout the SOPHIA project initiated the process, the development of RELIABLE protocols for OPV characterization and lifetime testing required much larger set of statistical data which was not possible to obtain within the given time period and resources.
Thus, based on the experience gained within SOPHIA the following is recommended as the next logical step towards further development of the process for establishing standard characterization tools and protocols for OPV products and harmonizing the test procedures among the laboratories:
• Facilitation of interlaboratory experimental projects: Establishment and funding of (research level) committees for coordinating interlaboratory (round robin) studies
• Funding for equipment for characterization and ageing test is highly encouraged
• Facilitation of projects, which will establish online tools for OPV characterization and lifetime tests and will create centralized data collection tools (databases)
• Supporting educational webinars and workshops related to OPV characterization is recommended








Figure 12: Production of solar organic tape

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D11.1: Overview report on most prominent imaging techniques
D11.2: Data base of different available alternative silicon materials
D11.3: Specifications for solar-grade silicon
D11.4: Description of sample architecture, materials classes and test devices
D11.5: Synthesis of results from round robin results to establish key parameters
D11.6: Definition of a figure of merit
D11.7: Validation of characterization procedure for fast tandem call IV measurement
D11.8: Correlation of surface, interface and bulk properties with device parameters
D11.9: Identification of defect, correlation of defect density and protocol for routine characterization
1.3.11 JRA 04 (WP12): Improvement and validation of software infrastructure (WP Leader: Jürgen Hüpkes, Julich)
Workpackage context and objectives
PV simulation tools are used all across Europe, to simulate every kind of PV technology at different levels of the production chain; materials, cells, modules, up to complete, installed systems. Expertise in each of these tools is usually very specific, focusing on one technology at one production level. As a result, communication between different tools is difficult and time consuming, or even impossible. With the ever-increasing uptake of PV, and consequent installation of large PV systems, the ability to pass simulation data along the production chain, to look at the cost-effectiveness of changes on a cell or module level in terms of the overall system cost and output, is becoming necessary.
Within this workpackage, the aim was to improve communication between simulation tools, and thus increase the efficiency of simulations along the entire production chain by:
(1) Development of standard data formats and content for all simulation tools;
(2) Development, implementation and testing of a central ‘universal’ library, via which all simulation tools can easily communicate, using the standard data formats.

Main Achievements
(1) We defined standard data formats and content required to pass data between I-V based simulation programs at cell, module, and system levels, have been developed. These include data that is passed directly from one simulation program to another, as well as necessary user-input data (e.g. module geometry, electrical configuration, weather data, etc).

(2) We developed, implemented and tested a central ‘universal’ library to facilitate data transfer between I-V based PV simulation tools, at cell, module, and system level.

(2.1) Library Description
A proof of concept of this library has been written, using the Octave programming language. The library currently allows I-V curves or PV parameters obtained from IV curve fitting at any illumination intensity or temperature to be imported or exported in a standard format, significantly simplifying data exchange procedures between any simulation programs. Both experimental and modelled data can be exchanged.

A schematic of the library is shown in Figure 13 Initial simulation data from simulation program 1, in this case I-V curves simulated at a range of temperatures and illuminations, (top left) is converted to the library format. Fitting and interpolation of these curves can be performed with the library tools, providing I-V data in the required resolution and format for any other simulation program.

Figure 13: Schematic representation of the initial interface library. The library is provides a standard format to pass IV curve data or IV parameters obtained from one- or two-diode fitting of the data for between any simulation programs within the desired temperature and illumination range.

(2.2) Implementation and testing
The individual simulation tools have been successfully integrated into a simulation chain by use of the universal library described above. The daily power output, as well as the annual energy output for three outdoor PV systems, each using different PV technologies (amorphous silicon, CIGS, and silicon heterojunction), were predicted from cell level simulations, and measured data. The simulated I-V data has been compared with experimental data at cell, module, and system level. The final calculated daily power output over time has been compared with experimental data.

Figure 14 shows schematically the simulations that were performed, the data (simulated and measured) that was exchanged using the interface library, and the comparisons that were made.

There are three main advantages to this library:
• All required information about data content and standards is known, reducing the possibility for errors in data exchange and interpretation
• Without this library, a specific interface to exchange data must be written for every pair of programs that exchange data. Using this library, every simulation program must only write a single interface to the library, and then communication with all other programs that use the library is possible.
• Due to the fitting and interpolation procedures provided by the library, differences in the speed and complexity of each simulation program used in the simulation chain do not matter.

In summary, data exchanged using the library was preferable for the researchers, as all required information was standardized, clear and available to all researchers. This made data formatting, fitting and interpolation procedures easy to implement and interpret by all parties. Additionally, only one data format conversion was required (to / from the library format). This meant that data exchange between simulation programs was faster, easier, and less error prone than the manual data transfer.

Figure 14: Data passing up the PV chain using the universal interface library, providing access to the system annual energy yield from both simulated and measured cell level data.

List of deliverables submitted during the project lifetime:
D12.1: Definition of data interfaces between the different modelling steps
D12.2: Report on models with respect to experimental verification
D12.3: Implementation of data bases and interfaces between different modelling tools
D12.4: Report on modelling of the value chain and energy rating

Potential Impact:
1.4.1 Potential impact
The main impact of this project is that is has created a culture of collaboration throughout the main research institutes, which will be extended under various forms beyond the end of this project. This is the main general outcome of this first project of its kind.

Collaboration has been effective through the following actions:
a. Collaboration in the way of offering access to internal infrastructures to external researchers
48 test platforms from 17 European centers made available through 8 calls for proposals. Advertisement for the TNA call for proposals has been sent eight times to hundreds of PV scientists. These invitations provided a link to the website, which clearly indicates what the different platforms are and which partner can offer the various type of services. Hence, the awareness and European RI knowledge has significantly grown within the PV community.
68 research proposals have been submitted in total. Most of the proposants did not know the RI where they applied, before this TNA opportunity.
o 52 free access to research infrastructures granted ;
o 42 experimentations conducted.
As around 60 contacts have been initiated between various organisations (R&D center / university / industry), it can be expected that of these organisations will make a follow-up after the SOPHIA project in order to fulfill their needs for research in a contractual relationship.

b. Collaboration for increased know-how exchange, through training and networking activities:
• SOPHIA has proposed a better identification of the knowledge needs among partner organizations, than previously through targeted questionnaires, B2B interview, circular emails have been regularly distributed among consortium partners and non-SOPHIA interested scientists/researchers, professionals, students.
• 30 exchanges of scientists/researchers and students have sustained cross-border collaborations among organizations and individuals in knowledge sharing.
• The availability of top-class scientists ready to transfer knowledge, and the combination of scientific expertise with technological capabilities offered by SOPHIA 48 PV research infrastructure offered opportunities to attend workshops/ training courses and webinars on topics range from Si technology to OPV Organic Photovoltaics, TF Thin Film Technology, CPV Concentrated Photovoltaics, and they include Material and Cell Characterization and Modelling, Lifetime prediction and reliability, Module and System Performance: data base and procedures, BIPV & Smart Building Integrated Photovoltaics, architectures, Safety and Conversion
• 30 webinars in 16 different events has been proposed by SOPHi@Webinar the e-learning platform. Outstanding lectures covering topic on cSi, thin film, organic, advanced concepts photovoltaic technologies, BIPV, CPV etc. were offered to more than 830 participants widely represented by students and younger researchers/professionals with a more balanced participation by gender for both speakers and participants with respect to events usually held physical
• On line approach has also overcome the time-zone barrier with a very wide participation by country, covering also non-European countries (USA, Asia, South America, Australia, etc.)
• 18 workshop joined to 30 organized webinars assured access to around 1,100 participants to access to comprehensive information in utilizing the infrastructure/technique/scientific protocol with information on different technical/scientific aspects and vantage/disadvantage on the utilization of specific PV research infrastructure/techniques and research protocols.

c. Collaboration using common tools such as databases
In total, 11 common databases have been developed in the field of capabilities, measurements and modelling. These databases are accessible to the partners after the SOPHIA project. With respect to the lessons learned and conclusions from SOPHIA project in the field of databases, it can be seen that the data acquisition and administration are the most critical issues in this research work. In order to avoid any troubles and/or misunderstanding by working with large amounts of measured data, various points had to be controlled in the data processing phase: continuity of measured data, timestamp synchronization of measured data, anomaly detection (outlier/change/deviation detection), data cleaning, outliner analysis and sequence data. Despite its obvious disadvantages as an automated filtering tool, the other visual data plotting is needed in order to allow rapid site verification without having to go into great detail.

The purpose of the data-bases was to facilitate continuation of work based on the outcome of the activities carried out in the framework of the SOPHIA project. The impact of this continuation was much stronger than only the access of publications since the data-bases are directly (data can be used as they are) and immediately (without the usual delay caused by writing and reviewing articles) accessible. Furthermore these data serve as standard providing a unique starting point for all scientists in the European Research Infrastructure.

d. Collaboration in order to be more efficient in research activities
The Round Robin Testing carried out in different SOPHIA activities (Joint Research actions as well as Networking Activities) contributed to the harmonisation of the measurement and testing procedures used in the different laboratories. Furthermore the subsequent improvement to best practices strengthened the European Research Infrastructure for the international competition, which is becoming more and more challenging since the leading PV-markets and production capacities moved to America and Asia.
5 Round Robins have been carried out (in SI material, OPV, thin films and CPV).
Round Robin tests are an excellent base for the evaluation of standards. The scientific base of standards are mutual agreements of the best practice, the abundance of appropriate test equipment and well elaborated error ranges for the definition of test procedures and pass - fail criteria. Such an unique platform as a big EU-project brings together the best laboratries in the EU and allows big steps towards common test methods used as input to global standardisation. Some Round Robin exercises set up by SOPHIA showed a high attractivity for other partners worldwide (e.g. Taiwan, Korea, USA) reinforcing the global impact of the SOPHIA initiative. Round Robin tests are an excellent base for the evaluation of standards. The scientific base of standards are mutual agreements of the best practice, the abundance of appropriate test equipment and well elaborated error ranges for the definition of test procedures and pass - fail criteria. Such an unique platform as a big EU-project brings together the best laboratries in the EU and allows big steps towards common test methods used as input to global standardisation. Some Round Robin exercises set up by SOPHIA showed a high attractivity for other partners worldwide (e.g. Taiwan, Korea, USA) reinforcing the global impact of the SOPHIA initiative.

1.4.2 Dissemination and exploitation of results
In order to promote the SOPHIA Project and facilitate the dissemination of its outcomes, the following tools were put in place and activities carried out:
• Logo, templates, brochure, roll up banners
• Website
• Partners websites, newsletters, targeted emails
• Email Lists with industry and research contacts
• Dissemination during targeted and existing workshops (national or international) – Papers, oral presentations and posters
• Webinars
• Public events (interim event, a final workshop and a final Symposium on EU PV research Infrastructures)
• Press conference – articles on important PV magazines
• Press releases

Over the whole duration of the project, multiple dissemination activities have been carried out towards different stakeholders, in order to increase the outreach of the project and its foreground. The dissemination activities followed the “Plan dissemination and promotion activities”. The PV industry and the scientific community were acknowledged as first priority target group together with decision making bodies at national and European level.
Dissemination activities related to the website were considered of core importance and therefore this tool was used to the maximum possible. The website was populated with details of internal and external workshops (the latter including webinars and public events) under the framework of Networking Activities (NAs), promoted the public deliverables of the project but also the Transnational Access (TNA) which added another layer of visibility about the happenings of the project. Sophia website was further improved to become more interactive and appealing to the user.
Over the last 4 years various workshops were held, with the presentations made at several of them put on the project website, www.sophia-ri.eu. Papers were submitted to scientific journals and technical presentations of SOPHIA results were made at international conferences, including the European Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) and the Intersolar Europe.
Processes to improve information flow between the partners had bedded down, for example, partners updated a central ‘Networking Activities database’ which included details of their dissemination activities. A detail reporting is presented below.
Hence, a very challenging and ambitious target of the SOPHIA project was reached, which was to enlarge as much as possible the group of experts, researchers and any relevant stakeholders, share knowledge and results for the benefit of the PV Research and consequently the PV technology.

List of Websites:
www.sophia-ri.eu

Coordinator
M. Philippe MALBRANCHE, CEA-INES, philippe.malbranche@cea.fr

Partners
1. CEA-INES, Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives, France
2. ISE IWES, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten forschung e.v Germany
3. ECN, Stichting energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland, Netherlands
4. IMEC, Interuniversitair Micro-electronica Centrum VZW, Belgium
5. RISOE DTU, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Denmark
6. JRC, Joint Research Centre - European Commission, Belgium
7. HZB, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin fur materialien une energie GmbH, Germany
8. Jülich, Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH, Germany
9. UPM, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain
10. ENEL, ENEL Ingegneria e Ricerca SPA, Italy
11. RSE, Ricerca sul Sistema energetico - RSE SPA, Italy
12. CREST, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
13. ENEA, Agencia Nazionale per le nuove technologi, l’energia e lo svilippo economico sostenibile, Italy
14. VTT, Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus VTT, Finalnd
15. SINTEF, Stiftelsen SINTEF, Norway
16. AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Austria
17. EPIA, European photovoltaic Industry Association, Belgium
18. EUREC, EUREC EESV, Belgium
19. TECHNALIA, Fundacion Technalia Research & Innovation, Spain
20. DERLAB, European Distributed Energy Ressources Laboratories e.V Germany

Acknowledgements
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement N° 262533 SOPHIA.