7. Short description of the overall PV strategy
The overall RD&I-strategy is heavily vested on a strong presence in the PV value chain from basic materials development and testing to the level of PV-system integration in the broader Energy System of Flanders. This presence over the PV-value chain is a must in order to grasp the numerous socio-economic opportunities in the PV-value chain as a result of the European Green Deal.
The R&D-activities in Flanders are covered for the largest part by 4 institutes (imec,UHasselt,KUL and VITO) which are closely coordinating their R&D-activities in the domain of Energy through the Stichting van Openbaar Nut EnergyVille. This close coordination between the EnergyVille-partners aims to accelerate the transition from the development of advanced/novel PV-materials and PV-device concepts to the PV-system level using the expertise on power electronics and battery storage and the Energy System integration using the knowledge on buildings and districts and electricity networks. In this way a broad R&D-community is mobilized – about 80-90 researchers – within the EnergyVille Research Line “Zonne-energie”. The activities of this Research Line are supported by recently built state-of-the-art laboratories brought together on the Thor-site in Genk. In terms of valorization the focus is on Integrated PV (comprising manufacturing, installation, O&M and decommissioning) which is in line with the strong SME-presence in Flanders. The link with training of skilled people is taken up in the collaboration between EnergyVille and the T2-campus which is also present on the Thor-site. The T2-campus was created exactly for the purpose of training of people in the domain of new energy applications.
In addition, there is a strong collaboration with the Netherlands on the materials and cell/module technologies for thin-film PV in the frame of Solliance which unites a number of institutes in Flanders, The Netherlands and North-Rhine Westphalia. Solliance stands for a structural collaboration in which imec and UHasselt are involved from Flemish side whereas at the Dutch side TNO together with a number of Dutch Universities (Eindhoven, Delft) are taking part. From the German side the Helmholz-centre in Jülich completes the picture.