Energy and Environment

Solar Energy

The sunlight falling upon Earth contains vastly more energy than that which is used by the entire human race. This energy can be converted into electricity by the use of solar cells. It is widely believed that a significant part of the future production of electricity will be done by solar cells.

Foss, Sean Erik

Head of Department

Marstein, Erik Stensrud

Deputy Head of Department


Although there is a large and rapidly growing solar cell industry, with several Norwegian companies as key contributors, sustained innovation is required in order to make solar electricity more cost-competitive. The solar cell group at IFE works towards this goal, among others by developing new technology and educating skilled candidates with a competence that is relevant for the solar cell industry.

The solar cell group is mainly working with solar cells made from silicon. This is by far the industrially most important type of solar cells, making up 95% of the global solar cell production. Silicon-based solar cells will, in all likeliness, remain very important in the foreseeable future.

Among the solar cell research topics at IFE are the following:

  • Production of solar grade silicon
  • Modelling of crystallisation
  • Improvement of existing solar cell technology
  • Development of new solar cell technology
  • Solar cell characterization
  • Investigations of the effect of material quality upon solar cell efficiency

The research projects are performed in close contact with the Norwegian solar cell industry.

The solar cell laboratory at IFE contains a dedicated line for producing silicon-based solar cells, and is unique in the Nordic countries. Additionally, a well-equipped characterization laboratory has been built up.

The solar cell research group is an active contributor, both on international conferences and in international scientific journals, and collaborates with a number of Norwegian and international research groups. Several project- and master students as well as PhD candidates are at all times connected to the solar cell group.

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