• Funding institution: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
  • Support code: Grand agreement no. 679692
  • Total amount of funding: € 5,642,707.75
  • Amount of funding received by ISC Konstanz: € 548,700.00
  • Duration: 10/2015 to 09/2018
  • Consortium: ISC Konstanz, SINTEF (Trondheim, Norway, Coordinator), Norsun (Årdal, Norway), SoliTek (Vilnius, Lithuania), Appolon Solar (Lyon, France), Garbo (Cerano, Italy) BCC (Bleiswijk, the Netherlands), bifa environmental institute (Augsburg, Germany), AIMEN (Porriño, Spain), Steuler Solar (Porsgrunn, Norway), Ingesea (Elgoibar, Spain)
  • Official project website


The main goal of project EcoSolar is to reduce the consumption of raw materials used for producing solar cells, thereby decreasing the carbon footprint by 30% for modules that use the more common type of solar cells, which are known as multi­crystalline cells. For modules made of the most efficient mono­crystalline cells, the corresponding carbon footprint reduction will be 25%.

In order to achieve these goals, a wide range of technical measures will be implemented: 

  1. Recycling resources used in solar-module production that are currently treated as waste, including:
    • argon gas used in furnaces in silicon wafer production,
    • crucibles used to smelt silicon,
    • silicon dust created during the sawing process for wafers used in solar cells, and
    • pure water required for solar cell production.
  2. Reducing the consumption of resources by:
    • developing new processes for solar cell production with lower chemical consumption,
    • modifying cell design to reduce the amount of silver in metal contacts,
    • developing frameless modules that do not require aluminium, and
    • developing modules with a rear surface also enclosed in glass, so that they do not need to be encapsulated in organic materials such as EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) or PVF (polyvinyl fluoride).
  3. Simplifying the recycling process: the current generation of solar modules is difficult to recycle. As a result, this project will develop modules that lack the current forms of encapsulation (see previous point). This will allow disused modules to be dismantled into their individual components more easily (glass, solar cells, electrical contacts, etc.) in order to be reused or recycled.

A further aim of the project is to develop a “solar-cell doctor”: a fully automated system capable of identifying defects in finished cells and making any possible repairs. 


The vision behind EcoSolar is to create an integrated value chain to produce and install solar modules using the lowest possible number of resources, reusing raw materials during the production process and recycling them when they are no longer required.