The PILATUS coffee break: get to know Gilles Arnoux from PASAN SA

I am Head of the research and development department at PASAN SA, one of the world leading companies providing solar simulators for characterisation of photovoltaic (PV) modules and cells (see I am proud to lead a motivated team of 10 people and support the development of PV industry in Europe and the rest of the world. After I received my PhD in Plasma Physics at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2006, I spent 9 years as research scientist and project manager in nuclear fusion research. I joined PASAN in 2015 to learn more about PV technology and have a shorter term impact on the energy transition our society has to undertake.

What was your original motivation to become a researcher/project manager?
Before joining PASAN and the PV community, I had the privilege to work in one of the largest European Experiments on nuclear fusion: the Joint European Torus (JET) located in Culham near Oxford (UK) and funded by the Eurofusion programme. That is how I came to realise that you cannot solve problems and build innovative solutions on your own. You need a strong and motivated team that focuses on a clear goal. What a more inspiring goal than supporting the PV industry in Europe and contribute to the decarbonisation of our energy supply? This is my every day fuel that I am keen on transmitting to our R&D team and project partners.

What is your (main) research area today?
With the PASAN R&D team, we explore innovative characterisation solutions for emerging PV cell and module technologies such as Interdigitated Back Contacting (IBC) or tandem perovskite (PSC) – crystalline silicon (c-Si) cells. We also develop metrology solutions to the growing demand from the PV for space applications. For example, we developed a characterisation solution of large (13m2) PV array for 5-junctions cells technologies. We also contribute with our expertise in different working groups of the international electrotechnical committees (IEC) related to PV module and cell characterisation. That is how we can support the standardisation of quality control in the PV industry.

What is the main focus of your team in PILATUS?
The PASAN team focuses on providing the metrology tool and methodology to accurately characterise IBC silicon heterojunction (SHJ) cells in a production environment. This is a crucial step in the cell testing and sorting module at the end of the production line. It allows for the sorting of cell efficiency into bins for an optimal module assembly. Our challenge is to provide a reliable and accurate solution with high cell throughput, compatible with the project goals of the demo-line. The solution is an all-in one measurement station including IV-testing, electroluminescence (EL) and photoluminescence (PL) diagnostics. The sequence of IV-EL-PL characteristics must be achieved within less than 1.5 seconds. This is a challenge we are excited to work on.

From all your activities within the project, what are you the most proud of/keen to share with the public?
I am very proud that PASAN has been able to supply prototypes of in-line cell testers to our key partners in Germany and Switzerland. I look forward to work with them toward an optimal and reliable testing solution for IBC cells. The characterisation is crucial in the effort to develop cutting edge, European, IBC cell technology.

How do you expect the PILATUS results will impact your organisation and the PV sector in Europe?
The PILATUS project allows us to challenge ourselves with demanding technologies. Integrating a metrological solution into a proper, European made cell production facility is a unique opportunity for us to gain knowhow and expertise in our field.

This project has received funding from the European Union under the Horizon Europe programme under grant number 101084046. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

Project progress

© 2023 PILATUS

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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