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  • New research facilities to support EU solar tech

Sep 2013
BRUSSELS, and ISPRA, Italy – New facilities were inaugurated at the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) in Ispra to enable the laboratory to assess new and improved photovoltaic (PV) devices, perform prenormative research and help develop international standards. The €3 million technology investment will allow ESTI to keep pace with the rapidly evolving PV market.

The new Apollo large-area steady-state simulator opens the door to new measurements on advanced products, as it provides full-sunlight conditions over a 2 x 2-m test area for up to 8 hours. Courtesy of EU.

ESTI, managed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s in-house science service, includes indoor and outdoor facilities, and studies energy ratings and the lifetime and aging of solar cells in real-life conditions. It aims to verify technological achievement and enable European R&D efforts to translate the PV industry’s long-term potential for increased efficiency – currently at around 14 percent, with the ability to achieve well over 60 percent – into commercial products.

One of the new facilities, the Apollo large-area steady-state simulator, will pave the way for new measurements on advanced products, as it provides full-sunlight conditions over a 2 x 2-m test area for up to 8 hours – the first of its kind installed in Europe.

“Renewable energy technologies are key to growth, jobs and better quality of life in Europe,” said European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. “In the global race for clean and competitive energy, photovoltaics in particular have huge potential to increase efficiency and reduce costs. A strong and vibrant European research infrastructure is essential to this, with the support of reference laboratories such as the JRC’s European Solar Test Installation.”

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