CHEETAH Final Event - looking back at 4 years of solar innovation

By: Mate Heisz, Business Analyst

On 30 November 2017 in Berlin, at the European Solar Technology Forum, researchers from EU-funded project CHEETAH unveiled new technologies for reducing cost and increasing performance of solar cells and modules. Research areas of the CHEETAH project included:

  • Crystalline silicon PV: ultra-thin wafers below a 100 microns
  • Thin film PV: thinner and more efficient through smart cells
  • Organic PV: instrinsic long term stability without special encapsulation

With more than 100 participants, including two dozen representatives of leading companies and technology startups, this forum was a great networking opportunity to get to know leading experts from research and also industry and launch partnerships to commercialise new solutions developed in the CHEETAH project. It summarised 4 years of research results with participants discussing how to implement and continue innovation in the years to come.

One of the core objectives of the Cheetah project is to accelerate the implementation of innovative technologies in the PV industry. SolarPower Europe supported the research institutes involved in the CHEETAH project by establishing the link with the industry through organising conferences and workshops as well as publishing reports demonstrating the commercial value of CHEETAH innovations.   

The CHEETAH group has developed new technologies for wafer-based crystalline silicon PV, thin film, and organic PV. One of the key innovations of the CHEETAH project is in the field of wafer-based crystalline silicon PV.

"After four years of solar research, we are thrilled to present our solutions that can reduce costs and increase efficiency. Our hope is that this technology can foster innovative manufacturing and facilitate the commercialisation of new solar products in Europe" said Jan Kroon (ECN), CHEETAH Project Coordinator. "We have found that there is a potential cost reduction of 20% in crystalline silicon PV modules by using a wafer technology below 100 microns developed by the CHEETAH team. We have also created thinner and more efficient thin-film PV through the use of smart cells. Finally, we have produced cheaper packaging solutions for organic PV, which constitutes a major part of the material cost," added Kroon.

CHEETAH's ambition is to develop technology and foster innovative manufacturing capabilities and PV products so that Europe can develop its technological and industrial capacity in all parts of the value chain.

"One of the most efficient ways to deploy more solar is using the most innovative technologies available - the CHEETAH group has established a platform for long-term European cooperation in the PV R&D sector to bring the European solar industry to the cutting-edge," said Kroon.

Speaking at the Forum, SolarPower Europe CEO James Watson said: "The objective of SolarPower Europe's new Industrial Competitiveness Task Force is for the EU to take the global leadership on the existing and next generation of solar technologies, manufacturing and services. This is why we are so pleased to see so many participants here, also from industry, and this is why we can say: we want to see more projects like CHEETAH in the future".



The CHEETAH consortium is composed of 34 partners from 16 European countries (Netherlands, France, Estonia, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Finland, UK and Norway). The partnership gathers partners having scientific excellence and complementarity in all important domains of the PV field (silicon, thin-films, organic PV, novel technologies).

The CHEETAH project is supported by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development with up to 9.7 euros, out of a total budget of 13.3 euros. This 4 years project ran from 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2017.