- REC Group’s plans to build 2 GW HJT solar module fab have secured funding under 2nd Innovation Fund round of the EC
- The French fab will use G12 module size with 22.5% efficiency which will be increased to 26% by 2030
- Fully automated, the fab is planned to be compatible with next generation tandem-cells technology for instance HJT-perovskite
Norway’s REC Group has been selected as one of the 17 winners of the European Commission’s (EC) 2nd round of Innovation Fund awards, paving the way for the company to build a 2 GW heterojunction solar module manufacturing fab in France.
The manufacturing plant will roll out HJT modules with 22.5% efficiency, increasing it to 26% by 2030. These will have 90% bifaciality and use G12 wafer size. According to the specifics released by the EC, the plant will use new generation equipment with 95% automation throughout the manufacturing line. It will be compatible with next generation tandem-cells technology for instance HJT-perovskite.
Makers claim these modules with 30-year operational life, will bring down levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility scale segment by 5% to 10% depending on the country these are deployed in and its climate, as compared to mono PERC modules.
It will be a fab powered by renewable energy. They have also committed to use sustainable manufacturing through recycled Silicon Kerf, thinner Si and wafers.
The project company is RISE, short for REC Innovation at Sarreguemines Enterprise, with partners being REC Solar Pte Ltd (Singapore) along with French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and REC Solar France.
This is the only solar manufacturing project selected. Among the winners is also Air Liquide Industries’ 200 MW electrolysis project in the Netherlands which is to be powered by wind and solar power.
Altogether, the 17 winning projects have secured more than €1.8 billion from the Innovation Fund that aims to encourage breakthrough technologies to come to the market in energy-intensive industries. Together, these large scale projects have capital costs of over €7.5 million and have the potential to save 136 million tons of CO2 equivalent within initial 10 years of their operation.
The complete list of winners is available on the EC’s website.
The EC has also identified up to 20 projects that are ‘promising but not yet sufficiently mature’ for the grant. These will be pre-selected for project development assistance by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and announced in Q4/2022.
For the 3rd round of Innovation Fund to be launched in late autumn 2022, the EC has increased the funding amount to €3.0 billion.
Back in June 2021, 32 small innovative projects were pre-selected by the EC under the 1st round of the Innovation Fund, including Maxeon Solar’s 1.4 GW manufacturing fab project for sticky, lightweight solar panels, also for France (see Innovative EU Projects Selected For €118 Million Funding). In Nov. 2021, the EC awarded €118 million to Enel Green Power for building a 3 GW HJT cell and module factory in Italy (see 3 GW Bifacial HJT Modules Fab In Europe). EGP Italia was one of 7 innovative large-scale projects that have become the recipients of EU’s €1.1 billion funding under the Innovation Fund. Project with total capital costs of over €7.5 million were selected.
With these large scale solar PV manufacturing projects of REC and and Enel Green Power (EGP), both members of solar sector association SolarPower Europe (SPE), the European Union is taking the first steps in supporting the creation of a local solar PV supply chain. At the same time, several other companies are looking for funding to build factories along the silicon solar supply chain in Europe as well (see ISC Konstanz To Help French Solar Gigafab Go TOPCon).