Better together in solar
The list of our partners is long, but just some of the key ones include: Flat Glass Group, Wuxi Suntech, BENEQ, Fraunhofer ISE, CPVT, Greentown Labs, Apricum and Lux Research, as well as research partnerships with Technical Universities of Delft and Eindhoven, and Oxford University.
Here’s a brief flavor of the work we are doing.
DuraMAT (otherwise known as the Durable Module Materials Consortium) is one of the world’s leading independent evaluators of solar technology; and it’s now conducting a major research project with DSM in the United States.
Over the next three years, our 100% recyclable Endurance backsheets – both commercially available products and those still in development – will be put through their paces by DuraMAT. These modules will be subjected to various characterization tests, chemical analyses and accelerated ageing testing – all aimed at establishing how long they really perform in the field, long-term.
The project represents DSM largest ever solar research project, and the most significant. On the one hand it offers an opportunity to build an even stronger business case for recyclable backsheets - and ultimately guarantee a minimum 25-year warranty for these products in the field. On the other hand, DuraMAT (which includes the world-renowned PV labs: NREL, SLAC and SANDIA – and is funded by the US Department of Energy) will provide invaluable input to our R&D teams, thus helping DSM to create the next generation of high-performance backsheets. A real win-win for the solar industry.
WiseEnergy is a leading fully integrated technical advisor and asset manager that oversees all aspects of more than 1,300 sites around the world valued at around $6 billion. With so many solar modules in the field, the company needs to maximize the IRR of its assets - and one solution could be with DSM’s retrofit Anti-Reflective (AR) coating for solar glass.
This technology is proven to squeeze up to 3% extra power gain from PV modules in the field. So far, results look promising based on a pilot project at one of WiseEnergy’s solar plants in Italy.
To create game-changing solar science at the very highest level, sometimes you need to think small: very small. Which is precisely what we’re doing at DSM through our partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – officially ranked as the world’s number one university.
A major aspect of our work with MIT centers on the development of solar technology conducted not at the traditional molecular scale, but at the recently discovered nanoscale. Just one example is our Anti-Reflective coating for solar glass. It already delivers a 3% power boost to PV panels but now, our scientists working on-site at MIT are exploring the functionality of surfaces at the nano level, 1,000th the width of a human hair.
For our customers it means the potential for high-performance c-Si (crystalline) PV modules containing completely novel nanomaterials that could - someday - deliver unprecedented cell efficiency by managing sunlight more effectively throughout the solar module.
But it also enables completely new solar technologies based on materials like perovskite that could literally be printed off and applied to solar modules - or integrated into everyday objects. Imagine, for example, if solar cells could be integrated into lampposts, collecting energy in the day, and then converting this into energy to light up the streets at night.
Thanks to our work with MIT, you might not need to imagine for much longer…
Silfab Solar is North America’s largest PV module manufacturer – and now it’s using our lossless conductive backsheets for its next generation of PV modules based on back-contact cell technology.
The strategic alliance between DSM and Silfab is good news for customers, but it’s also good news for the planet. The combination of Silfab’s industry leading designs with our own innovative solar materials that minimize electrical losses will enable a significant increase in power output compared to conventional modules. And that’s just today. Who knows what our bright minds will achieve in the future?
Accurate test data is essential in a relatively young industry like solar. Which is why we work closely with renowned industry experts like the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (ISE) to validate the performance of our solar materials both in the lab and the field.
This non-profit organization uses sophisticated software systems and techniques to analyze the performance of our solar test sites – taking into account a broad range of factors, not least how weather affects solar modules in the field.
We are proud to be a partner of Greentown Labs - the United States’ largest cleantech incubator.
By giving ambitious cleantech and solar entrepreneurs access to DSM resources, knowledge and expertise - especially in materials science and its application - we are helping to nurture a new generation of companies and solutions with the potential to help the solar industry continue lowering LCOE.
For example through the SunRISE Techbridge Challenge I & II (which also includes participation from Fraunhofer CSE) we have identified some 100 innovative startups over the past two years and rewarded them with various resources and funding opportunities.