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Press release: PV Modules with Yparex®

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15 jan 2014
EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS – Availability of longer life, higher efficiency, multifunctional solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, which also function as integrated building products, is one step closer to commercial reality as a European consortium led by TULiPPS B.V. (parent of TULiPPS Solar B.V.) has just been approved to receive €4-million/$5.5-million USD funding from the European Commission to build and validate smart, lightweight PV modules. These modules are designed to eliminate long-standing issues with conventional modules, which are heavy, unattractive, and are offered in very few sizes so can be difficult to fit in many odd-size locations on typical roofs and building walls. The new consortium aims to fix all of these issues and more under a project called SUMMIT, which seeks to develop a more durable, energy efficient, lighter weight, lower cost PV module platform that can be used for sloped or flat roofs and as building cladding.

As one of several projects backed by the European Union's (EU's) Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), goals for SUMMIT project are to demonstrate three step-change innovations in solar PV technology:
1. Innovative designs for large, lightweight PV modules with back-contact cells for flat roofs, as well as dimensionally adaptable modules (available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes) for use as cladding or on pitched roofs for building- integrated PV (BIPV) and building-applied PV (BAPV) applications;
2. Utilization of durable, 2-mm thin-glass PV laminate with greater break resistance as well as improved transmission efficiency; and
3. Smart-module power management for higher energy generation that is less prone to power drop off even under non-ideal local conditions (e.g. shading).
 
During the next three years, SUMMIT consortium members will demonstrate industrial manufacturability of these novel PV-module concepts, as well as overall module efficiency and durability, ease of installation and utilization, and applicability to various types of PV applications features representing breakthrough long-life PV modules with record power output, the lowest installation and system costs, and the lowest carbon footprint on the market today.

According to Paul Stassen, consortium leader and TULiPPS B.V. founder and CEO, "The really exciting thing about this project is that we have brought together the best partners representing the most innovative PV module technologies currently available. This consortium represents the entire module supply chain, from upstream equipment suppliers, to downstream engineering/procurement/construction (EPC) firms, and even testing/certification organizations. Working together, we will integrate all these leading-edge technologies into a single multifunctional module platform that provides a remarkable combination of value-added features that have never been packaged together before. We are going to demonstrate just how valuable and powerful that combination is in a number of public demonstration projects over the next few years."

Key members of the SUMMIT consortium and their unique technologies include:
Eurotron B.V.  (Bleskensgraaf, The Netherlands): Founded in 2005, Eurotron is a leading equipment supplier for the automated, high-speed production of back-contact solar PV modules ? process and equipment technologies developed in close cooperation with leading scientific institutes and tier-one clients around the world. A key aspect of back-contact cell construction is that it allows more square area per module to generate electricity while reducing cell-to-module losses to negligible levels (0.5%) vs. conventional soldered cells (with losses in the range of 5-6%). This helps boost module efficiency 10% or more while simultaneously offering extremely competitive manufacturing costs. Modules using back-contact cell technology have been evaluated via accelerated lifetime testing and demonstrated best-in-class results.

Femtogrid Energy Solutions B.V. (Amsterdam, The Netherlands): A power-management technology company specializing in safe, reliable, "plug-'n-play" power optimizers and smart electronics for the sustainable-energy market (e.g. solar, urban wind, and blue energy), Femtogrid's technology features patented parallel software architecture combined with very-high-efficiency power-point tracking per individual sustainable energy source. Products equipped with unique Femtogrid technology generate more energy, and yield measurably higher efficiency (up to 30% more) per system.

Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (Fraunhofer ICT, Pfinztal, Germany): With long-standing expertise in all aspects of polymer engineering for plastics and composites applications, particularly in the fields of materials and process development for high-volume production, Fraunhofer ICT provides development support from design through manufacturing. It is part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe's largest applied- research organization with 22,000 employees and an annual research budget of over €1.9 billion/$2.6 billion USD.

IBC-Solar B.V.  (Schinnen, The Netherlands) and IBC-Solar AG (Bad Staffelstein, Germany): Founded in 1982, IBC- Solar is an engineering/procurement/construction firm specializing in solar PV systems. The company operates globally and coordinates solar projects of every size. It also provides operation maintenance, and monitors its custom-built power supplies.
Additionally, integration of multiple energy sources with PV systems is a core competency of IBC-Solar. With over 150,000 turnkey systems representing more than 2.5 gigawatts (GWp) installed capacity, IBC-Solar is one of the world's leading PV systems integrators.

Kiwa Italy S.p.A. (Legnano (Milan), Italy): An internationally accredited testing and certification institute, Kiwa is considered the reference certifier within the building and construction as well as energy sectors. Kiwa Italy's laboratory is able to test and certify PV modules according to global standards, including the International Electrotechnical Commission & European (IEC & EN) Standards (e.g. IEC- EN 61730, IEC 61215, and IEC 61646). Additionally, Kiwa can test and certify materials and components for these systems.

Rimas Technology Group B.V.  (Beringe, The Netherlands): A global technology company providing equipment and knowledge for product assembly and production, Rimas specializes in tailor-made engineering solutions in fields as diverse as automotive, aerospace, and solar. Rimas Solar Production Systems produces individual machinery as well as turnkey manufacturing lines for automated and semi-automated (lean) PV module production plus back-end solutions for PV and thin-film lines. Known for its high standards in product quality and service, Rimas also consults on production layout and all relevant solar module manufacturing issues to support startup and growth scenarios.

TE Connectivity Nederland B.V. ('s Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL) is a technology leader in the world’s fastest growing markets, helping connect power, data, and signal in products ranging from automotive to aerospace to broadband communications, to consumer, energy, and industrial applications. Supplying the solar PV industry with innovative cable systems, connectors, and solar PV junction boxes, TE helps customers meet the need for greater energy efficiency, ever-increasing productivity, and faster, more reliable data.

TULiPPS B.V. (Eindhoven, The Netherlands): Headquartered at the Eindhoven High Tech Campus, TULiPPS was the 2012 winner of the Dutch Solar Award in the Industry Development category for its innovative COSMOS® module technology platform, which was developed cooperatively with partners from the plastics/composites, automotive, PV module, roofing, and PV installer market segments. Two unique aspects of the platform are the use of a very-thin 2-mm (0.08-inch) face layer of fully tempered glass plus a hybrid composite/metal "underbody" construction that supports the rest of the module. Since bulky and unattractive conventional aluminum PV frames are replaced by the patent-pending "frameless" support system on all COSMOS modules, the effect is a more attractive pitched roof or cladding that weighs and costs less than conventional BIPV modules. Design flexibility also provides opportunities to cover more surface area than is possible with conventional modules. Further, TULiPPS is the consortium leader for a Dutch Top-sector Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) solar demonstration project for Lightweight Rooftop BIPV (LiRoB), which has received €1.9-million/$2.6-million USD funding from the Dutch government.

Uniresearch B.V. (Delft, The Netherlands): Since 1994, Uniresearch, an independent grant-consultancy company, has specialized in the start up and management of technology innovations. The company provides high-quality services helping clients find funding opportunities and prepare applications for regional, national, and pan-European grants like the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program (FP7) and Horizon2020. Uniresearch's full services support customers throughout each stage of a research and innovation project: from project definition, through consortium-building and proposal writing, to contract negotiation, project execution, and dissemination of results. In fact, Uniresearch customers enjoy a success rate for European grants that is three-times higher than the average.

Yparex B.V. (Geleen, the Netherlands): Yparex B.V. is a leading European supplier of extrudable tie-layer resins for a variety of high-tech applications, including multilayer barrier packaging film, medical film, multilayer pipe, architectural wall cladding, and wire & cable. Combining outstanding technical support, fast response times, innovative approaches to resin chemistry, and co- development opportunities, the company is an ideal partner for those seeking more efficient methods to bond dissimilar materials together across large surfaces. The newest use of this resin technology is as a next-generation, long-life encapsulant for PV systems replacing ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer.

Since most of the technologies that will be showcased in the demonstration projects are already commercial or near commercial, one of the first steps that the new SUMMIT consortium will tackle is finalizing R&D efforts and then identifying highly visible demonstration projects in the European Union where the next-generation modules will be installed and evaluated. Stassen notes that there already is considerable interest from a variety of municipal and commercial building owners, so his team's greatest challenge will be finding the right location for the first demonstration project, which is expected to be up and running by third quarter 2014.

For more information, see: http://www.tulipps.com/, or eMail: tulipps@tulipps.com, or phone: +31 (0) 40.7516.290, or mail: TULiPPS B.V., High Tech Campus 9, 5656 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands, or follow TULiPPS Solar on Facebook*.
 
®TULiPPS and COSMOS are trademarks of TULiPPS Solar B.V. * All other trademarks are the property of their owners