Pilot line for reAr-contacted silicon heterojunction technology in Europe with advanced implementation of induStry 4.0 concepts (PILATUS)


PILATUS is a 3-year project aiming to demonstrate by 2025 three digitalised pilot lines for the production in Europe of silicon wafers, solar cells, and modules.

PILATUS will leverage the patented and already proven back-contacted silicon heterojunction “tunnel-IBC” technology to ensure achieving its ambitious targets. PILATUS will prove a production capacity of 15 MW for M10 silicon wafers in Norway using polysilicon from Europe and demonstrate the feasibility of an expansion to 5 GW wafer production capacity. PILATUS’ PV module pilot line will reach a minimum of 170 MW of annual production capacity, accompanied by a 190 MW cell capacity that by itself adds 30% to the current total capacity for PV cell production in Europe. Combining inline metrology and outdoor monitoring with the support of Industry 4.0 concepts all along the production chain, the cells and modules fabricated on PILATUS’ pilot lines will be analysed and feedback provided to the manufacturing process to ensure reaching ≥ 90 % yield at the end of the project. With the goal to establish PV modules with high durability, PILATUS targets to demonstrate the way towards > 40 years of product lifetime by gaining fundamental insights into the degradation mechanisms and providing mitigation solutions thanks to the inline and outdoor metrology units that will be developed in the scope of the project. Further, PILATUS will prove a reduced environmental footprint compared to current technologies by demonstrating modules fully made from recycled materials, eco-design practices to facilitate the dismantling of PV panels, and manufacturing plants compliant with environmental standards. In short, PILATUS will contribute to re-building a “made in Europe”, leading-edge, competitive PV industry with the entire value chain being retained in Europe, compliant to the latest environmental standards, hence fostering the affordability, the security of supply, and the sustainability of the future EU low-carbon energy system.