European Commission Funds Research Project Led by Oerlikon Solar

Research to Uncover Lower Costs and Reduced Material Use in Thin Film Silicon Module Production

(PresseBox) ( Truebbach, )
Oerlikon Solar, the world's leading supplier of thin film silicon photovoltaic (PV) production equipment, leads a research project called "PEPPER" that is receiving a grant under the Framework Programme for Research of the European Union, coordinated by the DG Energy of the European Commission. The aim of the project is to further enhance performance and decrease costs of thin film silicon modules within the next three years. Additionally the project will assess and reduce the environmental impact of the overall module production process.

Project "PEPPER" (website: started on 1 September, 2010 and mounts up to EUR 16,7 Million of which EUR 9,4 Million are financed by the European Commission - DG Energy. The members of the project, in addition to Oerlikon Solar, are the Photovoltaics Laboratory of the Institute of Microengineering at EPFL (IMT-Neuchâtel, Switzerland), the Universities of Northumbria (UK) and Patras (Greece), Bosch Solar Thin Film (Germany, module production), Heliosphera (Greece, module production) and Linde (Germany, gas supply).

The goal of the project is to demonstrate high performance processes and equipment for thin film silicon PV modules produced with lower costs, reduced material use, and an even improved environmental-friendly production process. The project tackles the major influences on Micromorph® module efficiency and production cost by assessing the influences of glass, gas, transparent conductive oxide (TCO) and silicon deposition as part of the production process.

Having industry and university partners as part of the project transfers new developments and improvements directly into production plants where the full impact on module efficiency and costs can be evaluated. Achieving the goals of this project will further increase the competitiveness of thin film silicon Micromorph® technology not only compared to other photovoltaic technologies but also with other energy generating technologies.

"I am very pleased that Oerlikon Solar's research efforts are being recognized through this project selected for a FP7 grant by the DG Energy of the European Commission," said Dr. Juerg Henz, CEO Oerlikon Solar. "Driving down costs while raising the efficiency is key to economically viable solar power. With this impressive consortium of experienced research and industry leaders we will continue our path in making thin film silicon the competitive, clean and sustainable energy source of tomorrow."

About Oerlikon

Oerlikon (SIX: OERL) is a leading high-tech industrial group specializing in machine and plant engineering. The Company is a provider of innovative industrial solutions and cutting-edge technologies for textile manufacturing, thinfilm coating, drive, vacuum, solar energy systems and advanced nanotechnology. A Swiss company with a tradition going back 150 years, Oerlikon is a global player with around 16,000 employees at over 150 locations in 36 countries and sales of CHF 2.9 billion in 2009. The Company invests more than CHF 200 million annually in R&D, with over 1,200 specialists working on future products and services. The operative businesses rank either first or second in their respective global markets.
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