In HIPERION we are developing a unique photovoltaic technology combining very high efficiency (more than 30%) with the ease of installation of conventional modules. The technology is based on an optical layer capable of focusing sunlight on an array of highly-efficient, space-grade solar cells. An integrated tracking system ensures that the cells are always in focus of the lenses, as the sun is moving throughout the sky. The higher power density of the HIPERION modules is highly valuable for space-constrained installations such as commercial or residential rooftops, where the available area is typically not sufficient to match the energy consumption of the building.
The main technical challenge of the project is to develop custom assembly equipment to position the solar cells and lenses with the required accuracy, while ensuring compatibility with existing PV production lines. The design of the components and assembly processes must be fine-tuned to achieve precise alignment with high throughput at low cost. Moreover, the final product must be reliable enough to operate for more than 25 years in harsh outdoor conditions. A pilot module production line will be operational in the second half of 2021, just two years after the project kick-off.
The HIPERION consortium is particularly well suited to meet this challenge, combining experts from the most renowned PV research centers in Europe, major industrial players with know-how in relevant mechanical and electronics assembly processes, as well as PV manufacturers and installers providing feedback on the economic viability and societal impact of the solution. Everybody is now actively working towards the common goal of bringing this disruptive technology to the market.