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Governmental millions for solar cell research

15 February 2010

Solar cell research at the Uppsala University Department of Engineering Sciences at Ångström Laboratory has been granted SEK 22 million in funding from the Swedish Energy Agency to research thin-film solar cells.

The decision to provide the funding was made by the board of the Swedish Energy Agency on February 11. The allocations will be distributed over four years. Besides research on so-called CIGS solar cells, there will also be an expansion of research to develop alternatives to the CIGS layer.
Some of the elements used today are not available in sufficient quantities to meet global energy needs.

“The goal is quite simple to be able to avoid the rare elements,” explains Associate Professor Marika Edoff, who has directed the research team since 2003.

The name CIGS comes from the material, Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (copper-indium-gallium-diselenide), which is used to absorb solar radiation. The total thickness of the solar cell layer is less than 3 micrometers, that is, three thousands of a millimeter, and the technology has the potential to attain lower costs compared with the solar cell technologies that dominate today.

The research team currently consists of nine individuals, but with the new funding, four new doctoral candidates will be recruited. Research at Ångström Laboratory is a strategically important base for the industries surrounding thin-film solar cells. A number of collaborations with companies exist or are in the start-up phase. Solar cells are also part of the strategic commitment to energy that Uppsala University is making.