Limiting global warming and accelerating the energy transition are two of today’s key challenges. Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy, despite the fact that it is produced intermittently, is one of the renewable energy sources with the highest potential in terms of cost and deployment. As mass storage solutions to manage intermittency emerge, PV is expected to rapidly become the world’s leading source of renewable electricity.
From a technological point of view, production is dominated by crystalline-silicon-based technologies (nearly 95% market share), whose costs have come down as productivity and efficiencies have gone up.
CEA has been conducting R&D in the field of PV energy for nearly fifteen years on the INES campus. As the global PV market has evolved, CEA has kept up, continuing to build strong expertise in silicon-based PV. The idea is to ensure that France stays in the race in a highly competitive global industry where technological differentiation through continuous innovation is of paramount importance.
CEA’s mission is to continue to improve performance to reduce module costs and carbon footprints. Current research is focused on PV material quality, high-performance cells of different technologies (homojunction with passivated contacts, heterojunction, perovskite, tandem), advanced modules both for mass energy production (solar plant) and specific use cases (space, UAVs, buildings, mobility, etc.), and the recyclability of end-of-life products—an area where we are using eco-design approaches.