NeFaSol (was: NLSiSCL) Netherlands Facility for Solar energy research (was: Netherlands Silicon Solar Cell Laboratory)

Contact details:

Prof.dr. W.C. Sinke
Westerduinweg 3 1755 LE Petten
FOM-AMOLF Amsterdam, TUD Delft

The Netherlands has a prominent global position in the field of photovoltaic solar energy (PV), a key technology for our future sustainable energy system. To strengthen and consolidate the position in this highly competitive growth sector, ECN, FOM Institute AMOLF and TUD have teamed up to establish NeFaSol (Netherlands Facility for Solar energy research) that brings together world-class nanoscience, advanced processing and analysis, and industrial technology to design, fabricate, and characterize solar cells and modules. NeFaSol aims to achieve breakthroughs in performance and cost of photovoltaic conversion based on advanced silicon PV and novel PV materials and devices. NeFaSol will work with partners that have complementary expertise, in particular UvA/VU and the Solliance partnership (Solliance ( is the international partnership for thin-film PV. Research members are TNO, ECN, Holst Centre, TU/e, TUD, FZ Jülich (DE), imec (BE), Uni Hasselt (BE)).

In the past 30 years, the Netherlands has acquired a prominent global position in the highly competitive PV sector. The close and targeted cooperation between basic research, technology development and industry has led to a number of important innovations that have become the world standard in production, see also Section 4b. To strengthen and consolidate this position and to benefit economically from the rapid growth of the global PV sector into the terawatt regime, ECN, FOM Institute AMOLF and the Delft University of Technology (TUD) have teamed up to establish a research facility for advanced photovoltaics, NeFaSol, which will bring together a unique set of instruments, techniques and expertise to design, fabricate, and characterize solar cells and solar modules. The establishment of NeFaSol, which includes the movement of ECN Solar Energy Petten to the Amsterdam Science Park, is an essential step in building a PV research and innovation ecosystem that is strong in international terms as well as efficient and coherent concerning national facilities.
The Amsterdam core facility comprises a full range of equipment for processing of advanced silicon solar cells and modules at an industry-relevant scale as well as characterization tools for materials, semi-fabricates and devices (focus of ECN), as well as the Amsterdam NanoCenter with electron beam, optical, and soft imprint lithography, etching and deposition techniques, and advanced electron microscopy, to produce and characterize novel solar cell designs including advanced wafer-based silicon solar cells, photovoltaic nanowires, hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells, perovskite materials and wafer-silicon/thin-film hybrid tandem solar cells (focus of AMOLF). The design and characterization strongly profit from the expertise in nanophotonics and ultrafast spectroscopic characterization. The satellite facility at TUD includes laboratory-scale processing of advanced wafer-based silicon and thin-film solar cells, including new light management and passivation schemes.
The result is a state-of-the-art and world-class facility that will be highly instrumental in finding innovative and competitive solutions for the manufacturing and use of PV. The goal is to achieve breakthroughs in module efficiency (≥25%) and cost (down to 0.5 €/Wp for turn-key systems, with corresponding generation costs of <0.05 kWh/Wp in NL) and to create entirely new application possibilities of PV. The research programs that will be carried out with the facility will be part of the TKI Urban Energy innovation program (in the framework of the Top Sector Energy) and the NWO Proposition to the Top Sector Energy. These programs are also fully in line with the strategic focus areas in Horizon 2020.
NeFaSol (total investment €21.4 million) is unique in that it covers the entire knowledge chain from world class (nano)science to industrial manufacturing technology and system applications. It will provide the research base for over 100 scientists and engineers at the partner institutes and for a large number of external users. Research will be done together with leading groups throughout the world and the technology development will be carried out in collaboration with the Dutch and foreign manufacturing equipment builders, materials suppliers, solar cell and module producers and companies providing solutions for integration of PV in buildings and the energy system.

Connection to strategic developments