Energy and Environment

Nordic PV - Solar Electricity from Materials to System Integration

The purpose of Nordic PV, a scientific project between Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), University of Uppsala (UU), Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), Danish Technological Institute (DTI) Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) funded by Nordic Energy Research, is to stimulate research and development related to solar electricity in order to strengthen the commercial development of solar cells in the Nordic countries.

Final report on this project can be found here.

Already, several Nordic companies are visible in the international solar electricity market, including NAPS Systems Oy, Rautaruukki Oy, Endeas Oy, Gaia Solar A/S, Topsil A/S, Elkem Solar AS, ScanWafer ASA, ScanCell AS, SolEnergy AS, SiTech AS, Renewable Energy Corporation AS, ScanModule AB, Gällivare Photovoltaic AB, Arctic Solar AB and Solibro AB.

There is no reason why these companies may not maintain their market share in the coming years. Even using conservative scenarios of growth within the solar cell industry there is a large potential for industry development in the Nordic counties. However in order to make this happening, it is important for the companies to have presence qualified R&D personnel within the Nordic region. In order to secure this, the underlying objectives of Nordic PV are as follows:

  • Strengthening the research effort undertaken by the individual partners, which all represent major national research groups in the field of solar cells.
  • Establishing a formal Nordic collaboration between the major national research groups, thereby becoming a significant player on the international, solar-energy research arena.
  • Establishing of research projects that stimulate mutual technology transfer between the presently market dominant multi-crystalline silicon solar cells and new emerging solar cells close to commercialization, such as CIGS and electrochemical solar cells.
  • Defining new Nordic research projects in cooperation with the Nordic industry.

The activity within this program is concentrated on the further development of crystalline silicon solar cells, CIGS solar cells and electrochemical solar cells and integration of these solar cells into energy systems. The program involves 4 PhD students and 5 post.doc positions. Annual general PV workshops are arranged, covering the PV activity in the Nordic region. Furthermore, workshops with invited speakers are arranged on a range of topics including thin film solar cells, contacting, characterization, stability and crystalline silicon solar cells. Researcher courses on CIGS and crystalline silicon solar cells are also arranged, giving both theoretical insight and hand-on experience.

The program has been successful in forming a very strong collaboration between the Nordic research institutions. This has been achieved both by stimulating mobility of scientific personnel between the institutions and mutual access to characterization facilities and processing equipment.


Research tasks

The integrated research projects involve 4 PhD and 5 Post. Doc students focusing on the following areas:

Technologies for Solar Cell Contact Formation:
This project has the aim to improve contacting of silicon and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) based solar cells. The work is focusing on increased understanding of different technologies for solar cell contact formation, especially how different parameters influence the performance of the finished front and back contacts. Hot melt paste, standard paste and/or thin layers of conductive oxides are used as contact materials in this study.

Development of High Efficient Solar Cells Based on Crystalline Silicon:
The main purposes of this project is develop a new cell design for silicon based solar cells. The focus will be on optimising of low reflectivity, high life time of minority carriers, contacting and good passivation of surfaces. Both cell designs where contacts are located on both sides or only located on the back side are under evaluation. Based on new developed cell designs, solar cells will be processed, characterised and evaluated.

Characterisation of multi crystalline silicon:
The main focus of this work is on characterisation of lifetime of minority carriers in silicon by using QSSPC, µW-PCD og CDI. In addition PVScan will be used for determining the dislocation density, EBSD for grain boundaries and FTIR for analyses of oxygen and carbon impurities.

Experimental Analysis and Development of Dye-sensitized Nanostructured Solar Cells for Alternative Substrates:
This project evaluates the technological possibilities of the dye solar cells on alternative substrates and generate better fundamental understanding on several related important topics. The research includes synthesizing methods and materials, effect of materials and preparation conditions and sealing and encapsulation of the cells for long lifetime.

Intrinsic Stability in CIGS) Thin-film Solar Cells:The prime objective is to study the degradation mechanisms in CIGS based thin-film solar cells. More specifically, the work is concerned with the stability of the different films that make up the complex structure of the solar cell. Aspects like packaging and lamination are not investigated. Solar cells from the laboratory at Ångström Solar Center are subjected to various types of stress, and the resulting degradation processes are studied. Analytical and numerical modelling is used to study the effects of degradation.

New Solutions for the Encapsulation of PV Modules:
The focus of this work is to find new solutions for the encapsulation of PV modules in order to improve durability and lifetime of the PV panels. For this purpose new capsulation materials and lamination methods are identified and tested. Moisture penetration through the capsulation is measured with sensitive moisture measurement methods. The moisture penetration rates are analyzed in order to identify and verify correlations with laminating parameters and encapsulation materials.

The solar cells of tomorrow:The overall objective of this work is to work out strategies for the design of new solar modules dedicated to building integration. The work is focused on design of solar modules for large area installations, i.e. large buildings, and furthermore on utilization of solar modules in these building for filtration of the daylight.

Solar cells in mobile applications:This work is focused on solar cells as a mobile power source. The objective is to identify and design a number of products, for which integration of solar cells can give an added value, and further on, to advise successful integration of solar cells in the identified products.

Partner contacts

Dr. Hanne Lauritzen
Danish Technological Institute (DTI), Denmark
Tel: +45 72 20 24 93

ProfessorLars Stolt
University of Uppsala (UU), Sweden
Tel: +46 18471 30 39

Professor Peter Lund
Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), Finland
Tel: +358 9 451 3218

Dr. Turid Worren
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
Tel: +4773 59 03 86