The European Commission has paid EUR 10.6 million to the Vaud-based start-up Insolight, which specializes in high-efficiency photovoltaics. Coordinated by the CSEM, the project aims to boost the solar industry in Europe.

The European Union has just allocated EUR 10.6 million to the HIPERION project (Hybrid Photovoltaics for Efficiency Record using Integrated Optical technology). This project is part of a European consortium of 16 members, ranging from technological research centers, universities to companies, and is coordinated by the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) in Neuchâtel.

At the heart of this project is the state-of-the-art photovoltaic technology developed by Insolight.  Based in Ecublens in the canton of Vaud on the EPFL Innovation Park site, the young company designed a flat photovoltaic panel equipped with cells used in the space industry.

Considerable savings in solar energy production costs

Insolight's solar panels are very efficient under direct sunlight and can also collect energy on cloudy days, unlike standard concentration systems. In numerous outdoor and test runs on pilot installations, the technology has achieved an efficiency of 29%, which is well above the efficiency levels of standard photovoltaic panels, which generally reach 18-20%. Insolight's solution significantly reduces solar energy production costs by considerably increasing the efficiency of solar panels.

The European Commission's investment of EUR 10.6 million should initially enable the setting up of a first industrial production line for Insolight's high-efficiency photovoltaic panels. Insolight's technology was tested for an entire year on a test installation located on the rooftops of EPFL. Connected to the networks and continuously monitored, they have easily endured heat waves, winter conditions and storms. The company hopes to see the first Insolight product on the market by 2022.