Developing High-Efficiency Lasers to Manufacture Solar Panels
As the world continues its efforts to combat climate change and to move away from its dependence on fossil fuels, solar energy looks set to become an important technology for the future. The manufacturing of solar energy panels is therefore likely to grow into a significant industry, offering large rewards for whoever can establish an advantage.
The aim of the European Union (EU)-funded ALPINE project was to develop new laser techniques which would enhance the manufacturing of solar energy panels, making them more efficient and less expensive than anything currently available.
The project could have multiple benefits – not only boosting Europe’s leadership position in lasers and in the photovoltaic (PV) industry, but also delivering environmental benefits through the development of improved methods for harnessing solar energy.
The results of the ALPINE team’s work, demonstrating the capability of PCF lasers to transform existing scribing technology and opening the way to rapid growth in the high-volume production of flexible, thin-film solar cells, are hard to overestimate. In the words of Professor Selleri: “Mechanical scribing will disappear very quickly from the PV industry, to be replaced by laser scribing. This will not only increase the processing speed, but it will also reduce the cost of ownership of the new technology because of its low maintenance and its cost-efficiency. This will open it up to new companies and SMEs.”
- Project acronym: ALL4REST
- Participants: Italy (Coordinator), Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Slovenia, Denmark
- Project FP7 229231
- Total costs: € 9 000 648
- EU contribution: € 5 899 987
- Duration: September 2009 – August 2012
Source: European Commission