European research programme targets 25% solar cell efficiency

(SeeNews) - Feb 13, 2012 - A new European project worth EUR 25.7 million (USD 34m) will seek to boost solar cell efficiency to 25%, cut power conversion losses by 20% and develop new green energy harvesting techniques.

Project participant STMicroelectronics Srl said in a statement on Friday that the funds were coming from national and European grants. The multinational/multidisciplinary programme -- Energy for a Green Society (ERG) -- will include work packages with a combined duration of 36 months. The participating countries are Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the UK.

As part of the project's first phase, European researchers will tailor and develop solar cells, using novel architectures, approaches and materials. One of the programmes key objectives is to demonstrate commercially viable applications of printable dye-sensitized solar cells that are seen as a promising low-cost alternative to silicon cells.

At the same time, the project partners will explore methods to optimise the use of energy generated by solar systems, with a focus on power-management electronics for silicon-cell panels and micro-electro-mechanical systems for concentrated photovoltaic (PV) cells. The focus will be on techniques that track the maximum power point to bolster the output from solar installation and enhance power-conversion efficiency at the module and segment levels.

(EUR 1 = USD 1.326)

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