Germany and the European Union have committed to a radical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Solar power will play a leading role in this transition, but at present most photovoltaic technology is imported from China. The EU is therefore looking to ramp up its PV production capabilities to shorten global supply chains.
The IBC4EU project, funded with EUR 13.5 million in EU, is expected to make a significant contribution towards this goal. It brings 17 partners from the European Rear Contact Alliance (EURECA) together to develop next-generation bifacial IBC solar cell and module technologies and the equipment to manufacture them at scale in Europe, resource-efficiently and at a competitive price.
IBC stands for "interdigitated back contact", which means that both plus and minus electrodes are arranged alternately on the back of the solar cells. This configuration cuts out the silver-coloured contact strips on the front of the cells, which reduces shading losses.
IBC Konstanz e.V., a spin-off from the University of Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg, will be coordinating the IBC4EU project. Their ZEBRA technology is the most cost-effective IBC technology on the market with an efficiency of over 23.6 percent and cell voltages of more than 700 MV.
The partners, including global research institutes, PV producers and equipment manufacturers, are already working on the development of conventional IBC solar technology for use in bifacial modules in industrial settings. "Previous projects of the EURECA partners have already led to several promising innovative technological IBC solutions along the value chain and have proven the high competitiveness of IBC products," says ISC Konstanz in a .
The aim of the project is to develop gigawatt-scale production facilities in Europe in the coming years.