Grid connected Photovoltaic (PV) Systems offer a very promising technology for an environmentally acceptable way of electricity generation. Today, the most serious drawback is the high energy cost compared to conventional energy sources. Therefore, the overall objective of this project is a substantial decrease in manufacturing cost of grid connected PV-Systems.
The approach is threefold:
- the manufacturing process of PV-modules can be simplified and therefore become less expensive if the series connection of cells can be avoided;
- the overall performance of a grid connected PV-system may be improved by introducing the concept of Module Integrated Inverters (AC-modules); - the cost can drastically be reduced if the "substrate" for the cell is a conventional and already mass produced building element.
The series connection of cells will be avoided by using thin film technologies, e. g. double or triple junction amorphous silicon, which allows deposition on large areas in a continuous process. Suitable technologies will be developed by NAPS France. These types of cells will produce very high currents (100 A) at very low voltages (1 V). Common inverter topologies are not suitable for these operation conditions. New concepts will be developed by ETH Zürich (CH) and Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Freiburg (D).
Finally, the new approach has to be converted into a product which can be used for building integration, e. g. as cladding elements. This task will be tackled by Alusuisse and Enecolo (CH).
Expected Achievements and Exploitation
The goal is to reach a preliminary product, which can be brought to the production level within a short time period. Three companies are involved in the project, which will guarantee an industrial approach to the product development. The exploitation will follow directly after concluding this project and depend on the results of the present investigations. Manufacturing options are continuously monitored. Alusingen is producing thousand of square meters of Alucobond to be used in buildings. There is an active world-wide sales organisation. The same production and marketing set-up can be used for solar panels based on Alucobond, which fits best to the SCMIC idea.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts