Joint Research Center – European Commission – Institute of Energy,Renewable Energies Unit (BELGIUM)

The European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) belongs to the Renewable Energy Unit (RE) of the Institute of Energy – of the European Communities’ Joint Research Centre. The Renewable Energies Unit is an European Centre of excellence in the field of Renewable Energy. A major part of the work relating to Photovoltaic Solar Electricity is performed in the ESTI Laboratory. The ESTI facilities have been built up since 1977 and are one of the most advanced in Europe, supported by a team of 25 specialized scientists, engineers and technicians. The JRC ESTI laboratory has established a TYPE “A” Liaison with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), it is an advisor to the IEC EE scheme on conformity assessment, is a member and convener of CENELEC and is a founding member of PVGAP. The JRC has conceived and contributed to numerous international standards in the field of photovoltaic performance. ESTI is an ISO17025 accredited laboratory for both “Measurement and Testing” and for “Calibration” of Photovoltaic devices.
The purpose-built test facilities, specialised staff and an extensive data base constitute a resource which is also available on a commercial basis for the benefit of manufacturers, research organisations and users. The services available at ESTI for testing solar devices and systems serve several purposes for research and industry.

Role in the project

Electrical performance (current-voltage IV characteristics) at Standard Test Conditions (STC), temperature coefficients TCO, and spectral response SR of all supplied devices can be measured by JRC. Visual inspection by Optical Microscopy, thermal imaging measurements and the Laser Beam Induced Current (LBIC) technique are also available. The combination of these techniques proves to be a very valuable tool to investigate laser-scribing related patterning problems in thin film modules.
ESTI co-operates with many research centres and universities active in the PV sector and is involved in a large number of EU funded research projects dealing with thin film PV (e.g. HYPERPB, BIPV-CIS, PERFORMANCE, etc.).

Key personal to be involved in the project activity includes:

Ewan D. Dunlop HND, BSc (hons), PhD, CPhys, MInstP holds a PhD in Applied Physics specializing in surface engineering of thin film material. He joined the ESTI sector of the Institute for Energy, Renewable Energies Unit in 1993 as a Scientific consultant leading the group's research in thin film PV device measurement. Since 1997 he is group leader for the PV Device Technology activities and has since been appointed as Technical Manager of the ESTI Laboratory. He has more than 35 publications relating to thin film materials and measurement techniques.