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Research and development in the field of solar power covers the topics of photovoltaics and solar thermal power plants.


SOLAR-ERA.NET promotes research and development in the field of solar power. Thematically, this includes the field of photovoltaics. This involves power being generated by solar rays hitting one or more semiconductor materials. Free charge carriers are then created within the materials, which can be discharged as power. Secondly, the network also explores the field of solar thermal power plants. These work with concentrated solar radiation, which heats a heat transfer medium that in turn drives a power block. While photovoltaics can also be used in temperate climates such as Germany, solar thermal power plants require a high proportion of direct solar irradiation, as is available in southern Europe, North Africa or even the USA, for example.

The European network of national and regional funding bodies helps to implement the goals of the Solar Europe Industry Initiative (SEII). The development and use of solar technology is to be accelerated, in line with the goals of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan). The European Commission supports the networking activities of SOLAR-ERA.NET and the resulting support programmes within the EU Framework Programme.

Germany only funds photovoltaic projects within SOLAR-ERA.NET. Transnational research and development on solar thermal power plants is funded through the parallel CSP-ERANET, which addresses this topic in more detail.

Harnessing the expertise of Member States in transnational research projects

The work within SOLAR-ERA.NET focuses on joint funding calls from the participating European partner countries. This enables collaborations between project partners that are not covered by national programmes alone. Transnational research ensures that the respective expertise locally is used in the best possible way. This applies both in relation to industry and with regard to the renowned European research institutions and universities. In this way, it is possible to continuously develop technological advantages. The competitive position of the European solar power industry is strengthened and the energy transition is systematically advanced.

Running time: since 2012

A total of seven calls have been conducted so far during this period, with a slight change in the composition of the participating partner countries. The countries involved in the last call are listed in the next section.

Duration: 2019 – 2023: SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Additional Joint Call

Participating countries: Austria, Belgium - Flemish Region, Cyprus, Germany, Germany - Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Greece, Israel, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey

This funding call "SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Additional Joint Call" aimed to further reduce the costs of using solar power technologies and to increase their efficiency and reliability. The Additional Joint Call for the solar industry and research institutions has a total volume of 7.8 million euros. Funding from the 7th Energy Research Programme is earmarked for German participation.

Projects funded from this with German participation

Contact Person Projektträger Jülich

Dr Kambulakwao Chakanga

Dr. Renate Horbelt