The PV4Industry4.0 project invests in the further development of the process technology for flexible manufacturing of PV modules and an advanced analysis park where the products of the many players in the pv value chain could test their materials/products.
The PV4Industry4.0 project is an investment project under the EFRO program REACT-EU (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe) that will support and further develop the PV industry in Limburg and Flanders, and more broadly in the Benelux and the rest of Europe.
The investments within PV4Industry4.0 are crucial for increasing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) of these new technologies to serve the broad range of players in this value chain and to reinforce Flanders' leading position in this sector. This involves investments to further develop the process technology for flexible production of PV modules, as well as the further development of an advanced analysis park where the materials/products of the many players in this value chain can be tested.
It should be noted that this need not always be limited to PV products; related products such as "functional glass" can also be built and tested for performance and reliability in this infrastructure.
(1) Expanding the integrated PV innovation platform at the EnergyVille/Thor site by purchasing and qualifying two different tabber-stringer tools for next-generation cells. The acquisition of different tools will allow for risk reduction and transition to next-generation solar cells with larger sizes (166 to 210 mm), multi-rails (9- 15 instead of the standard 5-6 design), and n-type technologies (TOPCon, Heterojunction, etc.). This transition is essential to increase competitiveness (higher efficiency, improved
aesthetics, etc.) and the sustainability of integrated PV products (lower carbon footprint, Pb-free modules, etc.).
(2) Because integrated PV products vary widely in size (from small roof tiles to standardized 2.5 m high facade elements) and also need to be highly reliable under conditions that often deviate significantly from standard conditions, a second goal is to strengthen the analysis infrastructure at EnergyVille and UHasselt . This will require investments in a large-area solar simulator (for accurate and repeatable measurements of next-generation modules) and a large-area climate chamber (to perform accelerated aging/pre-certification tests that are essential when introducing products to the market). In addition, investments in small equipment will enable the manufacture in-house and at much lower cost of sensors for in-module sensing of in-situ voltage and temperature measurements during manufacturing processes and in PV applications.