Emmerthal (RBR). The Institute for Solar Energy Research (ISFH) has been working for almost 30 years for the successful implementation of the energy transition in Germany and internationally. And it has made major progress in this respect, revolutionizing the world of photovoltaics and solar energy with numerous developments, not only for science but also as a development partner of the industry, especially for practical applications.

In a meeting with the press, institute director Rolf Brendel presents the most important highlights of the year 2016. The currently 145 employees published 103 publications in international professional journals compared to 80 in the previous year. This corresponds to an increase of 30 percent. We are very proud of the scientific output of our team, because it is what remains in the long run and can be used worldwide for the long-term benefit of the progress of solar energy,”explains Brendel. The number of academic theses also rose by a whopping 70 percent from 12 to 20, and last but not least, there were 7 international awards for researchers from ISFH.

In the field of photovoltaics, for example, a new process for collecting the current on the back of solar cells is pioneering. The result of 25% efficiency is an international top score.

Today, the phasing out of nuclear energy and the reduction of fossil fuel emissions are social consensus, and the transformation of the energy system has begun. With the energy transition, Germany has set itself the goal of transforming its energy system, i. e. the heart of our industrial society, and making it fit for the future. By 2050, that is to say in just over 30 years’ time, we want to avoid the vast majority of energy-related emissions: what a dynamic, what a task!

The importance that the sole shareholder of ISFH – the State of Lower Saxony – holds for its work is demonstrated by the increase in funding for 2017 – by €900,000 from €2.7 million to €3.6 million. We would like to express our sincere thanks for this decision, which is very important for us, and we would also like to thank Prime Minister Weil personally,”says Rolf Brendel, Director of the Institute. This is not only an acknowledgement of our work, but also of the importance of solar energy for the transformation of energy systems in Lower Saxony, Germany and the world,”said Brendel, commenting on this decision. ISFH makes three euros out of each of the state’s funding funds and thus achieves a “third-party funding ratio” of more than two thirds, which is considerable compared to other research institutions.

The clear commitment of the state to ISFH is also an important reason for Brendel not to accept the attractive job offer to head a much larger research institute. Only in November 2016 he decided to stay in Hameln.

And the focus is on the future: A major goal for the future is to integrate more solar energy into buildings instead of adding it to the exterior. These could then be installed in facades or parapets, for example, and could either be used visually unnoticeable or as a design element. There is also a lot of work to be done in optimising the energy system for heat and power supply of buildings and quarters. In addition, ISFH continues to work on reducing costs for solar energy. It is conceivable that the current prices could be further reduced by half. That would be a new highlight.