Support to the actual execution of the Implementation Plan for Photovoltaics of the SET Plan and monitoring the Implementation Plan’s delivery
Enel Green Power is the Enel Group’s business line dedicated to the development and operation of renewables across the world, with a presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Enel Green Power is a global leader in the green energy sector with a managed capacity of over 43 GW across a generation mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower, and is at the forefront of integrating innovative technologies into renewable power plants. EGP is also a dominant PV industrial company, with significant activity along the value chain from cell production to project development and operation. It wishes to understand the landscape around it better, meaning understand the innovation priorities of the plethora of smaller actors to determine the scope for collaboration with them, including in areas related to the PV Implementation Plan. PV Impact will help to set up a ‘long-term partnership between research actors and industry’ to speed up technology transfer from research centers to industry through the creation of a permanent structure. The partnership will build on an effort currently underway to create IAPI, the Italian Association of PV Innovation. Broad support exists among Italian stakeholders for such a structure.
Photowatt is a pioneer of the PV industry who started PV cells and modules manufacturing 40 years ago in 1979. During all these years, Photowatt has built a strong European and worldwide network both through industrial collaborations as well as Research & Development projects at national and European level through successive Research Framework programs. Since 2012, Photowatt is 100%-owned subsidiary of the French utility group EDF and will, in the frame of the PV Impact project, support the actual execution of the PV implementation plan by bringing its expertise and experience on PV products and market to smaller companies (SMEs and start-ups) wishing to bring innovations that would contribute to the PV re-industrialization in Europe.
In 2015, the pan European project SOPHIA for Photovoltaic European Research Infrastructure pointed out in its Strategic Research Infrastructure Agenda the “usefulness” of conducting manufacturability tests once a technology has reached a sufficient maturity. More precisely, once a successful technology has reached a Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4, it is time to begin testing its manufacturability by attempting to reproduce the results in production runs at relevant scales in order to form an accurate assessment of the device’s eventual manufacturing costs.
However, conducting manufacturability tests of industrially compatible prototypes requires to be able to use existing production equipment as the capital expenditures to acquire such equipment is often too large for research institutes or small industrial companies in their early development. To solve this hurdle and help bridge the gap from research to industry both industrial companies EGP and Photowatt participating to PV Impact have proposed to open the manufacturing lines to a few selected third parties which are process-compatible and willing to invest in testing the manufacturability of their processes over trial runs. Opening the manufacturing lines also mean that non confidential industrial good practices will be shared which is a huge benefit to the whole industrial photovoltaic eco-system in Europe.
The consortium will also support EGP and Photowatt in their own industrial development. For EGP it will entail proposing two “Flagship Projects” in Italy, one on “Innovative Technologies for Modern Utility-Scale PV” and one on “Italian BIPV/PIPV value chain [PIPV = product-integrated PV], showing politicians that the sector knows where it’s come from and where it wants to go and what policy support is required to launch these flagship projects. For Photowatt, it will mean organizing two Scientific & Technical meetings during which the consortium’s expertise and network will be used to address technical hurdles to identify research actions to solve the technical locks through possible collaborative projects. Non-confidential general information will be shared with the consortium to demonstrate the quality of its Crystal Advanced® process and products for producing high quality, cost-competitive and low CO2 photovoltaic modules. The project will show to which extent these industrial development plans are in-line with the PV implementation Plan as well as with the “A clean planet for all” European Strategy.