The European Commission (EC) has reportedly approved financing for the five-year Gupard program, which was launched in May 2012 to develop a new generation of efficient photovoltaic cells with for use in CPV systems. Soitec, a CPV maker of Bernin, France will reportedly get €21.3m in financing from the project to serve as program coordinator. The Gupard program began in April 2012 as part of the French government program ‘Invest for the Future’ (Investissements d’Avenir), which is managed by the French environment and energy management agency (ADEME – Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie). Gupard brings together the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and the small/medium-size enterprise (SME) InPACT of Pomblière, France, a manufacturer indium phosphide (InP) single-crystal wafers. In total for the five year project, the program represents a total investment of €68.9m. Soitec financing includes €5.9m in direct subsidies and €15.4m in repayable advances.
Soitec says that its technology will likely be used in four-junction solar cells. The CPV efficiency record of 44.7% was reached in September using the four junction solar cell concept following preliminary work of Soitec in collaboration with Fraunhofer ISE, CEA-Leti and Berlin’s Helmholtz Centre.
“With the Gupard program, our ambition is to allow our CPV technology to achieve unequalled levels of efficiency and competitiveness,” said Soitec’s chairman Andr-Jacques Auberton-Herv. The program is “strategically important not only for Soitec but also for the opportunities it will create in France and the rest of Europe,” he adds. “We would like to thank the French Prime Minister, the French General Investment Commission, CGI, and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME, for the support and the policy of promoting innovation as part of the ‘Invest for the Future’ program.”