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The South Korean government has released a new roadmap to support R&D activities in the solar industry

South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) has released a new roadmap for the domestic solar module industry, which plans to invest heavily in efficient and expensive products, such as panels based on tandem solar cells.

According to the document, domestic solar manufacturers and research institutions expect that tandem solar cell technology based on silicon and perovskite will become the most promising candidate for the next generation of photovoltaic products. According to MOTIE, the Korean semiconductor and display industries may play a decisive role in this transition by providing their expertise in silicon product and thin film development.

MOTIE said that in the next five years, about 190 billion won (US$159.7 million) of public investment will be used for tandem photovoltaic technology research, and hopes to reach an efficiency of 26% by 2023 and 35% by 2030. In addition, it plans to allocate another 25 billion won to build a 100-megawatt research and development facility to test TOPCon, heterojunction and tandem solar technologies.

In addition, MOTIE will allocate another 98 billion won for solar research activities. These include building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and floating photovoltaics.

The decision to bet on high-quality and expensive technologies such as tandem photovoltaics is a response to the same logic that prompted the South Korean government to introduce a new rule in May that will prioritize new installations with the carbon footprint of solar power projects in mind. The new rules will echo those adopted in France, where large-scale solar tenders will consider low-carbon manufacturing and developers agreeing on prices for power generation. South Korea, like France, has extensive nuclear power generation capacity, which will contribute to the low-carbon efforts of domestic solar panel manufacturers.

According to recent studies in France, if manufacturers want to achieve commercial production, photovoltaic modules made of tandem solar cells will have to show 30% efficiency and provide the same life and degradation rate as standard crystal panels. According to the paper (evaluating the potential competitiveness of series modules relative to crystalline silicon products), the commercial version of the latter will reach an efficiency of 22-24% by the end of this century. If interdigital back contact (IBC) is used, the efficiency may reach 25%. %. Heterojunction products reach commercial production.

In September 2019, researchers from the Ulsan University of Science and Technology in South Korea demonstrated a new method of manufacturing silicon perovskite tandem devices, which uses a transparent conductive adhesive to bond two batteries together. Scientists have developed a device with an efficiency of 19.4% and proposed a strategy to use existing technology to increase it to more than 24%.