The Norwegian national infrastructure for Si solar cell technology contains state of the art equipment for research and development along the value chain from silicon refining to solar module testing.The laboratory is organised in four nodes. The IFE node with focus on chemical production of silicon, equipment for materials testing, solar cell manufacturing and testing and equipment for solar module manufacturing and testing. The SINTEF node is more specialized on crystallization of Si by directional solidification, crystal pulling and thin film sputtering as well as characterization and testing, including testing of PV modules in real environment. The UiO node contain special equipment for more in depth characterization. The NTNU node contains an advanced refining furnace and advanced equipment (GDMS) for chemical analysis of Si and other PV relevant materials.
In the near future the conditions for creating new PV industry in Norway will likely be strengthened. Statnett reports that there will be a 25-30¬_TWh surplus of energy in the Nordic market, giving even lower electricity cost compared with other regions. Reduction of the activity in the oil industry is already freeing up skilled personnel. The new infrastructure is a good national investment that utilizes Norways natural advantages such as low cost and clean energy and highly skilled people and a strong motivation to create new high tech manufacturing industry. The research organisations in the consortium, SINTEF, IFE, NTNU and UiO, have long traditions on cooperating in PV research and have common industry funded and Norwegian Research Council funded projects, M.SC and Ph.D. students, Post-docs and a long list of publications. The cooperation is functioning smoothly and gives a very efficient use of knowledge and commonly established infrastructure; one outstanding example is the FME-centre on Solar Cell Technology. The consortium wishes to further strengthen this collaboration within silicon solar cell technology as well as strengthen the consortiums scientific standing and opportunities.