Facts and figures

  • Full title: Accelerated development and prototyping of nano-technology-based high-efficiency thin-film silicon solar modules

  • Acronym: FAST TRACK

  • Start Date: 1/03/2012

  • Duration: 36 Months

  • Total budget: 14 M €

  • EC funding: 9,3 M €

  • Final outcome: New generation PV Modules

  • Consortium



Project objectives

  • Cost reduction (down to below 0.5 €/Wp at system level, ensuring electricity prices well below 0.08 €/kWh in sun-rich areas), and reliability increase,

  • Improved lifecycle of PV systems (down to energy pay-back times below 0.5 – 0.7 year in southern parts of Europe).

  • Achieve solar cells with 14% stable efficiency, leading to the demonstration of reliable production size prototypes module at 12% level



WP1, Superstrates and substrates

In this WP, a novel generation of electrode and optical layers will be assessed an developed. The goal is to develop substrates (or superstrates) that have less parasitic absorption, that scatter light more efficiency and that are compatible with the subsequent growth of the doped and absorber layers, as well as to introduce low cost antireflection coatings or foils at specific places in the device.

To achieve the desired results several approach will be followed. On one side, various TCO developed by the project partners will be assessed, in order to obtain a baseline comparison. Then, approaches based on multi-scale will be investigated for both textured substrates and superstrates.

The texturization will be accomplished with nano-structures obtained by specific layer deposition methods (e.g. with stop and go process, by novel chemical etching and nano-imprinting, either on glass or on foils.

WP2, Novel nano-materials

In this WP, doped and absorber layers are studied, assessed and incorporated for validation in devices. The goal is to obtain layers that allow for lower parasitic absorption, increase carrier collection and optimum Voc x FF after light soaking.

The absorber layers are key components of micromorph cells. Their properties are intimately dependent on their growth conditions. For the first time, EU-wide the materials from the different groups will be compared and assessed. In parallel, novel absorber materials include nc-SiC or SiO layers for the top cell, and surface-passivated nc-Si layers for the bottom cell will be developed.

Particularly, the growth on textured substrates needs to be explored in regard to its influence on the structural and electronic properties of the layers.

WP3, Design and development of high-efficiency solar cell

In this WP the intermediate reflector and back reflector layers, made out of materials from WP2, are developed for integration in full devices. Based on help from optical and electrical simulation, and on the use of the substrates and superstrates of WP1 and materials of WP2, record devices are obtained Based on their evaluation, the designs for developing into modules will be chosen.

WP4, Ultra-fast absorber deposition

This WP looks at obtaining very high deposition rate for nc-Si materials, using a novel generation of VHF-in line electrode. The availability of low cost nc-Si could open new opportunities for device design with thick i-layers.

The approach is a combination of VHF (known for reduced bombardment damage) and narrow-gap system. An alternative approach that will be investigated is in-line deposition. In-line deposition offers the potential of significantly higher throughput than for conventional batch processing.

Dynamic effects of the growth of nc-Si are still an issue and will be investigated in this work package.

WP5, Up-scaling and integration in modules

In this WP, a new generation of record high efficiency TFSi modules will be demonstrated by the various industry partners, using there pilot line equipment.

In this WP the best materials and processes developed in WP1- WP3, as well as the specific modules aspects of WP6 (scribing and various edge losses), will be continuously evaluated and tested by the various partners, which operate a unique part of pilot equipment at GEN5 level. Best processes will be used to realise the new record modules. The processes that are needed for obtaining the 12% efficiency on glass plates are planned to be integrated in the pilot line of OS. However, based on future results it can be decided to produce the record module on the pilot line of one of the other partners, or to combine individual process steps by sending unfinished products between the different production sites.

WP6, Module characterization

In this WP, module design (voltage, current), and lost area related aspects will be treated (laser scribing, edges). The reliability testing allows a validation of the various new materials introduced in the modules.

WP7, Cost / Impact

This WP aims to validate the initial hypothesis regarding cost and environmental impact.
From the targeted realization of pilot-scale modules incorporating the findings during the course of the project, inputs for a cost estimate and marketability will be derived. These include not only the achieved stabilized module power, but also the chosen materials and related process technologies.

Besides the environmental impact in terms of energy payback time and CO2 equivalent will be performed

WP8, Dissemination and exploitation

In this WP a project web site will be made, a graphical identity will be composed, a flyer will be made, workshops will be organized, project presentations will be prepared en the exploitation of project results will be optimized.
The following workshops will be organized by Fast Track partners and will be used to disseminate the results of the consortium:

  • 14th IWTFSSC for scientists on March 19-23, 2012 in Neuchatel by EPFL
  • EUregional workshop in spring 2013, focussed on PhD students, organized by Jülich

WP 9, Management

Jülich is the coordinator of the Fast Track Project. The tasks of the coordinator are defined by section II.2.3 of the FP7 Grant Agreement. UNR administratively supports Jülich to fulfil this task.
In this WP the financial and administrative management will be performed. It should be noted that the scientific management of the coordinator and the WP leaders is included in the WPs 1-8.







This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 283501


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