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A network of partners of excellence

The Durasol platform is coordinated by CEA and counts on seven partners from Industry, Research, and Technology development, which all contribute with their equipment and expertise to projects dealing with the durability of solar materials and systems.

CEA - INES

The Durasol platform is coordinated by CEA, the largest industrial technology provider in France.

CEA is the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives), a public body established in October 1945. CEA is the largest technology research and development provider in France, whose role is to transfer this know-how to the industry. CEA has staff of about 16000 people, a budget of 4.3 billion Euros per year, and has filed more than 650 priority patents. CEA operates ten research centres in France, specialized in specific fields.

CEA is operating today more than 350 people at INES, the French institute of solar energy, which has started operations in 2005. After a strong phase of growth, today ten CEA-labs at INES cover the complete value chain of photovoltaics : material, cells, modules, solar systems, and storage systems. Two labs deal with solar thermal systems. Furthermore, three labs deal with energy in buildings.

Photovoltaic module assembly is a key lever to improve reliability and durability of PV modules, and reduce costs. Over the last 10 years, the Photovoltaic Module Lab (LMPV) has investigated four main vehicles for innovation :
• The module materials, the interconnection and encapsulation processes, to guarantee high performance level of modules during their lifetime in different environmental conditions. This implies that specific tests of performance and reliability are carried out alongside the technological development, in addition to the more conventional tests described in IEC 61215 and 61730 standards.
• The adaptation of manufacturing processes to innovative solar cells (back contact, bifacial, ultrathin cells…)
• The development of innovative modules for specific applications, to foster the use of solar energy and to create new markets for PV industry
• The optimization of the life cycle and recyclability of PV modules.

To reach these goals, CEA LMPV has gathered world class industrial equipments and scientists, leading to a unique platform of facilities and knowledge located in the same Lab, adapted to different Technology Readiness Levels : ranging from technological development (small size modules development and characterization) to technological demonstration (industrial large modules manufacturing and characterization).
The CEA LMPV offers expertise programs for partners with access to its PV Module Technology and Durability Platforms, that are unique resources to drive innovation

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POPPI - Institut de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand

The POPPI group of the Equipe Photochimie (Institut de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand), has gained an extensive experience in the field of polymer degradation and stabilisation. This group has been working in this field for almost 40 years and has investigated the degradation of numerous polymeric materials. The research aims at understanding the chemical reactions responsible for the degradation of polymeric materials exposed to the stresses of the environment and more specifically to solar light, temperature, in the presence of air.

One of the goals is to correlate the chemical modifications of the macromolecular chains resulting from weathering to the degradation of the functional properties of the polymeric material. Several domains of applications of polymers have been investigated, and since 2003, the targeted fields of application of POPPI’s research concern mainly energy, with an important part of the activity in the field of organic solar cells, concerning the degradation of the active layers and encapsulation.

To reach that goal, POPPI has developed a large set of analytical techniques, allowing as well the chemical degradation as the modifications of the architecture of the polymers to be characterized, always with the objective of relating the observed modifications with the degradation of the material properties, which is the core of our know-how.

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LaMCoS - INSA Lyon

The LaMCoS (Contact and Structure Mechanics Laboratory) is a joint research laboratory between INSA Lyon (National Institute of Applied Sciences) and CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research), UMR 5259. The LaMCoS conducts thermo-mechanical studies to identify and master the integrity of structures, in five main fields : mechanics of solids and structures, materials and processing, dynamics and control of systems, mechanics of contacts, tribology.

The laboratory has equipments to apply thermomechanical loading on PV cell while measuring displacement and strain fields as well as discontinuities such as cracks. Investigations on fragile rupture at sub-zero and room temperature, as well as the transient behavior from fragile to ductile during high temperature mechanical tests are commonly performed. Experimental data are often confronted to numerical models, such as crystalline plasticity based model for mono-, multi-crystalline and ribbon on sacrificial carbon (RST process) silicon wafers.

Besides with a powerful 6 axes shaker, a real vibratory environment for a entire PV module can be reproduced and analyzed (Equipex Phare).

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SPE - University of Corsica

The University of Corsica is specialized in environmental research. There are seven main research projects being carried out by the two Joint Research Units, the CNRS SPE Joint Research Unit and the CNRS LISA Joint Research Unit. Energy efficiency and environmental research is carried out by the Renewable Energy group in the UMR CNRS SPE laboratory. The main research areas are : photovoltaics and solar thermal power, energy storage systems (using hydrogen, batteries, and pumped water systems) and systems as electrolyzers and fuel cells.
In this context the group installs and monitors experimental platforms in Ajaccio ( MYRTE – coupling solar plant and hydrogen chain, Paglia Orba – smart-grid, Durasol- outdoor solar testing materials) to study different components, systems, materials and to acquire environmental and outdoor data in view to optimize the performance of such equipment. The group also develops modeling tools and global energy management systems. Predictive methods for energy resources (solar and wind power), together with the possible spatial distribution mapping and forecasting of the solar and wind resource are developed. Complex energy and thermal system modelling on TrnSys is also a skill of our entity.

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IM2NP - Université d’Aix-Marseille and Université du Sud Toulon-Var

Founded in January 2008, IM2NP is a multidisciplinary institute which brings together scientists in physics, chemistry and microelectronics.
It relies on various skills both for teaching and research in materials science, microelectronics and nanosciences.Its expertise spreads from physical and chemical sciences to devices, circuits and systems. The Institute is run under the joint authority of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and two Universities : Université d’Aix-Marseille and Université du Sud Toulon-Var
It is also associated with three Schools for Engineers Polytech’ (Marseille and Nice), Ecole Centrale de Marseille, and ISEN Toulon.
OPTO-PV Team (components for the optoelectronic and photovoltaic) studies the semiconductor materials and especially Silicon (massif, thin, nanostructured, amorphous, multi or mono crystalline) for photovoltaic technology. The main studies concern the impurity analysis and defects in photovoltaic Silicon.
Team is also involved in the modeling field of the photon collection and the charge generation in organic photovoltaic cells.
In optoelectronics, main research activities concern :
-  the detector development for low wavelengths
-  the implementation of structural antireflection coater on semiconductor materials,
-  the material study for the optical detection of different gases,
-  integrated optical components and more generally the study of optical nanostructured materials.
The team has both theoretical skills and modelling to address fundamental issues related to the interaction of light / matter and the generation of electron devices in thin layers.
Concerning equipments we use material structuring tools available in clean room (Photolithography, annealing furnace at high temperature and rapid ramp for SiC-4 H) and specific optical, electrical and photoelectrical characterization tools (spectroscopic Ellipsometer, microFTIR, integral sphere, Solar Simulator, electron microscope scanning, I - V, C - V, spectral response characteristics, lifetime measurments by microwave phase shift - μW - PS, Light Beam Induced current - LBIC, etc.).

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PIMENT - Université de Réunion

The laboratory PIMENT (Physics and Applied Mathematics for Energy and Environment) is a research department of the University of La Reunion. PIMENT is made up of four teams :
-  Applied mathematics for complex systems (MASC)
-  Building physics (PHYBAT)
-  Environmental and built environment engineering (GEEB)
-  Energy systems and renewable energy (SEERAB)

The MASC team develops mathematical tools in order to analyze and to optimize models of complex systems like the energy systems, the buildings or their environments. These cross-disciplinary tools permit to improve the models of the other teams of the laboratory. The main works are oriented around the sensivity analysis, neural networks, Bayesian inference, numerical and analytical resolution of differential equations.

The PHYBAT team works on sustainable building design in tropical area. The aim is to develop models, simulation tools and standards to help the civil engineers to design low energy buildings for the tropical climates. Specific studies are actually leaded on PCM (Phase Change Materials), natural ventilation (ANR project 4C) and net zero energy building (IEA task 40). The first zero net energy building of French overseas territories (ANR project EnerPos), is an experimental building of the University of La Reunion (1000m2 of classrooms and offices with a 40kWp PV roof).

The GEEB team works on environmental issues in tropical and urban areas such as air & water quality, waste management and buildings lifecycle analysis.

The SEERAB team works on various renewable energy systems in order to achieve the goal of the GERRI project (Green Revolution for Reunion Island) that promotes energy autonomy in 2030 for Reunion Island. This team develops and tests statistical and physical models of renewables coupled with buildings or energy grids. In the experimental platform located in Saint-Pierre, different renewables are actually under study : a 35kW solar cooling system (ANR project ORASOL and MEGAPICS), 17kWp of different PV farms (BIPV, isolated with storage, classical grid connected), test banc of thermal efficiency of solar collectors (flat plane, vacuum pipes, double-glassed), and small scale cells with BIPV roofs. The team also investigates the massive integration of intermittent renewables (PV and wind turbines) inside small-scale grids using power output forecast (Soleka and PEGASE projects) and energy storage management (FUI project Enerstock). The last and more recent axe of research is the electricity production by Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC).

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EDF

The R&D Division of Electricité de France (EDF R&D), involves more than 2000 people, working on energy production, electrical networks, energy management, sales development and renewable energies.

For EDF, renewable energies represent a major axis of development. They contribute to a low carbon energy mix and the EDF Group intends to increase the development of photovoltaïcs, in which the subsidiary EDF Energies Nouvelles is very active.

EDF R&D works both on researching technological breakthroughs on materials (with the IRDEP lab), and on the optimization of existing technologies strongly linked to the above mentioned business development.

Since 2009, EDF R&D invested in a PV module facility, including indoor and outdoor equipments for ageing studies. These equipments are not dedicated to certification activities, but devoted to research for future certifications. All of them are very performing, accurate and quite new.

These equipments are exploited by a 10 staff team, already familiar with various industrial modules including new technologies.