Research & Development
centrotherm photovoltaics has always attached great importance to research and development. We are constantly endeavoring to increase cell efficiency and to optimize production output and yield in order to sustainably reduce manufacturing costs per watt peak.
In Constance we are running the centrotherm Solar Innovation Center (SIC) with an integrated solar cell and module line including a set of inspection and characterization tools. More than 100 experts are working on the development of highly efficient solar cell architectures and module designs as well as on the corresponding manufacturing processes. The SIC is the key to a fast technology and process transfer into mass production and accelerates the innovation cycles along our R&D roadmap.
In addition to the a technical center, the SIC is also housing a customer center. Thus, we are able to perform processes on site together with our customers.
We are pursuing an evolutionary approach in solar cell development of which aims to achieve an annual increase in conversion efficiency of 0.5% for mono-crystalline and 0.4% for multi-crystalline silicon solar cells. We produce innovative technology upgrades which we transfer to our customers in mass production. Current products include selective emitter and centaurus technology. The modular set-up of our FlexLine turnkey line is also based on this evolutionary R&D roadmap. We integrate technology and equipment upgrades into existing production lines. This enables our customers to meet increasing market and capacity demands and to deploy state-of-the-art production technology over the long-term.
We enter into cooperations with leading universities, research institutions and industry partners in the field of research and development.
These include the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, the International Solar Energy Research Center in Constance e.V. (ISC), the Institute for Photovoltaics (IPV) at the University of Stuttgart and the Australian National University (ANU). Our subsidiary GP Solar is also pursuing a research venture in the field of wet chemical additives with BASF. As part of these cooperation initiatives, we have already been able to produce a series of developments which have led to a significant increase in efficiency in the production of crystalline silicon solar cells.
In addition to maintaining and extending cooperations, experience gained from ramp-up phases and mass production are also very important to us. Research & Development supports ramp-up in the initial phase of implementation of new technologies. We also accord high priority to close collaboration with our customers.