05.02.2015 15:43 Age: 1 year

SOPHIA publishes its Strategic Vision for PV Research Infrastructure


The “Strategic Vision on PV Research Infrastructure” is an important outcome of the SOPHIA project, integrating the lessons learned from the project and proposing a new PV research infrastructure strategy for the coming years. It will serve as a proposal to ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures, which is a platform of experts with a mandate to look into Europe’s research infrastructure (RI) needs.


Within the SOPHIA project and, we expect, the wider PV community, there is increasing consensus on the need to overcome fragmentation and to cooperate on the development and use of research infrastructures because:

  • Funds for investing in RI are limited
  • Continuous investment is needed to keep the RI at the highest level
  • Sharing helps resources to be used optimally.
  • It can assure faster and efficient achievement of critical mass, i.e. sufficient  research activity on a topic for new ideas to be generated readily and the topic to attract interest and talent

These key points represent the practical translation of the objectives of EERA-PV, namely to ensure the implementation of the strategic research agenda beyond the SOPHIA project. There is also an increasing need to address the various means of supporting technology transfer to, and innovation within the industry. Although not initially part of the SOPHIA project, throughout the project, pilot lines were found to be one of the key components in supporting these required developments.

The Strategic Vision represents the consensual view of the 20 partners of SOPHIA (European research centres, EPIA and EUREC) on RI for photovoltaic energy. The proposal is detailed in the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1 describes in short the context and the scope of the document
  • Chapter 2 discusses current trends in the access and use of photovoltaic RI from the entire PV field: silicon materials, organic PV, thin films, concentrator PV, module lifetime, module and system performance, modelling and building integrated PV
  • Chapter 3 identifies the future needs by setting up a whole range of multipurpose RI addressing all the PV value chain from lab to fab and the market
  • Chapter 4 provides concluding remarks and recommendations

The evidence base for the Strategic Vision is written input from the members of the SOPHIA consortium with expertise in certain specific fields of PV technologies, who have been consulted in a structured manner. Drafts of the Strategic Vision were presented to the whole consortium at project General Assemblies taking place in April 2013, November 2013 and March 2014. Suggestions for improvements were taken up. The document can therefore be taken to represent the view of the consortium.

The document was published in January 2015 and presented at the Symposium on European PV Research Infrastructure, which was held on 22 January 2015 in Le Bourget du Lac, France.

The document is available here.