News | Photovoltaic solar power
Some constellations foresee tens of thousands of satellites. From a technical point of view, electric propulsion and the possibility of swarm flight also redefine the need for electric power. Solar panels must therefore be able to meet these new technological challenges.
Taking profit from its experience in the development of custom solar panels for terrestrial specific applications, and its extensive skills in photovoltaic cells, the CEA at INES has been amplifying its space research activities since 2016. It is developing integrated solutions to reduce the specific mass (Kg/W) and dimensions of folded modules, while maintaining an acceptable cost for the industry. These solutions also rely on models and production methods from terrestrial applications to meet the growing demand for high productivity. The CEA laboratories at INES are also extending their characterization activity to evaluate the performance of solar panels and offer innovative qualification solutions that can be easily integrated into production lines.
To meet the need for these new photovoltaic solutions, for which environmental constraints are severe, CEA has recently acquired thermal chambers, with a temperature range of -180°C, +150°C under atmosphere, and -120°C, +120°C under vacuum. This equipment complements the manufacturing equipment available at the Modules platform at CEA at INES.
As for solar technologies for space, the partnerships of the CEA are academic and industrial.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.