February 22 (Renewables Now) - The pre-production solar panels of Swiss R&D company Insolight SA have achieved an efficiency of 29% in real-life conditions, the company says.
"Over the last two years, our team has brought the product from a lab prototype to a full-size solar panel, connected to the grid and monitored 24/7. Our system has been extensively tested and we are now preparing an industrialization strategy for large-scale production", says Mathieu Ackermann, CTO of Insolight.
In order to speed up its market entry, Insolight is now discussing with several solar manufacturers to license its technology. “Our technology involves a few extra assembly steps, which can be added at the end of existing production lines, taking leverage of production capabilities already in place”, Laurent Coulot, CEO of Insolight, adds.
The real-life conditions result was validated by the Solar Energy Institute of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (IES-UPM) in November 2018. The modules were also tested in real-life conditions for a whole year on a pilot installation at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and successfully endured heat-waves, winter conditions, and storms, Insolight noted in a news release on Tuesday.
The Swiss company based at the EPFL Innovation Park has patented optical system concentrates light onto an array of tiny space-grade multi-junction photovoltaic cells. The panel’s protective glass embeds a grid of lenses which concentrate light by several hundred times. Under this optical layer, direct sunlight is focused on an array of high-performance space-grade solar cells.
While today’s rooftop standard modules typically show an efficiency of 17-19%, Insolight’s pre-production module has been validated at an impressive 29% by IES-UPM, two years after a first record on a lab prototype.
Insolight is supported by several programs from the European Commissions (H2020,Solar-ERA.Net,Eurostars,Climate KIC), national programs (Innosuisse, Innovaud, SPEI, FIT,VentureKick, CleanTech Alps), the European Space Agency (ESA BIC) and EPFL (Innogrant).