The French module manufacturer and the research center are in a financial package to industrialize a new tandem technology called “4T”, which consists of depositing a thin perovskite layer on glass and integrating the assembly into a standard silicon cell as an underlayer. . According to the IPVF, the solution could achieve a yield of 30%. The industrial project aims to produce 5 GW by 2030, with a pilot line in 2023 and a demonstrator in 2025.
“The idea is to create what is called a technological brick and, once the industrial feasibility and profitability have been proven, to make the new product available on the European market”, explains to pv-magazine Lucas Weiss, CEO of Voltec, about the France PV Industrie industrial project, announced this week in partnership with the Photovoltaic Institute of Île-de-France (IPVF).
The French module manufacturer and the research center have indeed announced their desire to launch the industrialization of a Tandem 4T perovskite-silicon technology developed internally by the IPVF. The partners are also announcing an ambitious agenda since a pilot line must be set up from the end of 2023, followed by a 200 MW industrial demonstrator in 2025. This should then multiply its capacity by five in 2027 (1 GW ) to reach a production capacity of 5 GW by 2030.
Tandem 4T perovskite-silicon technology
“While most market players, such as Oxford PV or the CEA, are working on two-terminal perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells, we have taken a step aside with a “4T” technology, says Lucas Weiss. The thin layer of perovskite is placed on glass and the assembly is integrated into a standard silicon cell as an underlayer”. According to the IPVF, this innovation makes it possible to display a conversion efficiency of 30% at the module level.
The advantage of this technology is that the silicon cell can be adapted to the thin layer and in particular simplified: the cell being exposed to less radiation, it is possible for example to reduce the quantity of silver, and therefore its manufacturing cost. The efficiency of the perovskite thin layer makes it possible overall to limit the importance of the silicon sub-layer in the yield of the final module. Lucas Weiss therefore evokes the possibility of using recycled silicon, which is less pure and therefore less efficient, while maintaining a high yield.
It is therefore the perovskite part on glass that is targeted in the announced industrial development. Developed by the IPVF (which holds the intellectual property) this technology will be able to be tested on an industrial scale thanks to Voltec, which is involved with its know-how in module manufacturing. While supporting its industrial development, the manufacturer will therefore also be the first customer of the future perovskite-on-glass technology plant. The glass plates with thin layer will then be delivered and assembled with the rest of the panel in its manufacturing unit in Alsace. Once the solution’s profitability has been proven, IPVF and Voltec expect other European manufacturers to integrate the technology into their module production. “The idea is to work in the sector,” adds Lucas Weiss.
Funding and production
To carry out the industrial project, the IPVF and Voltec intend to create a joint venture, France PV Industrie, and obtain the financing necessary to scale up industrial production. The pilot line represents an investment of 15 million euros and the industrial demonstrator 50 million euros. By 2030 and to reach 5 GW of production capacity, the partners estimate the total investment at approximately 1 billion euros. For the time being, the project has been the subject of a file submission in Ademe’s calls for projects for France 2030 this Wednesday, November 9.
The pre-industrial line must be set up in the premises of the IPVF “as quickly as possible”, as indicated by Lucas Weiss who specifies that the orders for machines will take place as soon as the financing is validated. This pre-industrial unit will be used to validate manufacturing processes. The leader has already indicated that he is working on the financing of the industrial line which should be developed by 2025. To release the first panels incorporating recycled silicon, he says he wants to rely on the French sector and in particular the new center inaugurated by Soren and Envie 2E Aquitaine next to Bordeaux at the end of September 2022.
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