In September, all links to the chain have been involved, from energy companies to the solar cell manufacturer, the material and equipment supplier, academic research as well as venture capital firms.
First on the list is the partnership between French energy group Total SA and the Laboratory of Physics of Interfaces and Thin-films (LPICM), a joint R&D research team between the French national Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and France's Polytechnic Engineering school, to develop silicon thin-film technologies and explore new concepts using silicon nanowires. The key focus of this research program consists in reducing the cost of solar energy to foster its deployment.
Total said it has agreed to provide resources and funding of 8 million euros ($11.7 million) for the initial four-year phase.
"The creation of the joint R&D team is the culmination of 20 years of work on plasma synthesis and thin-film and nanomaterial characterization for photovoltaic solar cells," stated Bernard Drvillon, head of LPICM. "Photovoltaic solar energy has been the core focus of R&D at the lab. Cooperation with Total, a global energy producer and provider, paves the way for practical applications for LPICM's work."
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