As the photovoltaics (PV) industry advances in Germany (annual production is now in excess of 100 GWp, which corresponds to more than 25 trillion solar cells), the technology for measuring, controlling and automating the PV systems needs to become more sophisticated – effectively ushering in the era of “Photovoltaic Industry 4.0”.
A new classification and measurement platform called MK4 from the Fraunhofer Centre for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP) in Halle together with various commercial partners aims to get “Photovoltaics 4.0” on track. Specifically, it will support research and development in the areas of correlative data analysis, machine learning and adaptive control processes in order to improve process development and operations under near-production conditions.
Manufacturers and suppliers of PV technologies already use inline measurement systems and statistical analysis to improve system efficiencies. The platform will bring all the data and processes together so to speak in a consistent, highly automated, digitally-networked and controlled way all along the production chain.
"In particular, we bring our excellent competencies in metrology, correlative data analysis for adaptive process control using machine learning and evaluation of new inline metrology applications under industrial conditions to the joint projects with our industrial customers," says Dr Marko Turek, team leader in the "Diagnostics and Metrology" group at Fraunhofer CSP, in a .
The platform enables commercial partners to integrate new applications for inline tools – such as correlative analyses and measurement techniques. The Fraunhofer CSP worked with WAVELABS Solar Metrology Systems GmbH, HEGLA boraident GmbH & Co. KG, ASYS Automatisierungssysteme GmbH and CE Cell Engineering GmbH to develop the platform, which is now open for joint research projects and collaboration within the industry.