On 25 August 2011, at an Ecoscholars event hosted by Inventux Technologies AG, Dr. Tilman Eichstädt met with Ecoscholars members to discuss the Berlin-based company’s micromorph thin-film solar modules and the future of the solar technology industry.
Inventux Technologies AG specializes in manufacturing micromorph thin-film photovoltaic modules. Inventux was founded in Berlin in 2007. The company is a leader in micromorph thin-film technology and was the first solar company in Europe to mass produce the modules. Micromorph solar modules contain absorbers made of two different types of silicon, amorphous and microcrystalline, in a top and bottom photovoltaic cell. By using layers of amorphous and microcrystalline silicon in tandem, the different band gaps facilitate solar radiation absorption from a wider spectrum.
Dr. Eichstädt, Head of Procurement and Logistics at Inventux, explained the module technology and discussed the company’s approach. Ecoscholars members raised questions for Dr. Eichstädt in an informal roundtable setting. Attendees were particularly interested in understanding the role that domestic policy, such as the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG), Germany’s feed-in-tariff law, plays in industry development. The discussion also highlighted the implications of new developments and global growth within the industry and market. As technology has advanced and the industry grown, solar has become more cost competitive and prices have dropped dramatically. Many German manufacturers now operate at a loss and further reductions in prices are expected.
The event provided a valuable opportunity for Ecoscholars members, many of whom hold a particular interest in renewable and solar energy, to learn more about solar technology and gain direct insight into the solar manufacturing industry. Ecoscholars is an initiative of international researchers, scholars, fellows, and professionals coordinated by the Ecologic Institute.