HyET Solar and Delft University of Technology have renewed their partnership by signing a four-year research contract aimed at accelerating the introduction of next-generation silicon-based thin-film solar cells. “This collaboration with HyET Solar is a great example of how lab-scale innovation can be quickly converted into industrial-scale manufacturing. New materials, device architectures and processing steps developed in our university lab will soon be applied in current and future production lines at HyET Solar,” comments Arno Smets of the Photovoltaics Material and Devices group at TU Delft.
HyET’s current product, Powerfoil, consists of polymer-encapsulated amorphous and microcrystalline silicon layers to make a 0.5-millimeter thick foil. Its main advantages compared to mainstream silicon solar cells are lower production costs and the lightweight and flexible nature, expanding the application range. The conversion efficiency is 12 percent, but because the foil performs better in diffuse light conditions or partial shading and at higher temperatures, HyET claims its product’s performance is equivalent to 18 percent efficiency for glass solar panels. The company is planning to build a 40 MW/year Powerfoil production facility in Arnhem.
Next on HyET’s roadmap are an all-silicon triple-junction solar foil, a triple-junction version that incorporates SiGe and a tandem perovskite-microcrystalline product. The latter could have an efficiency of 25+ percent.