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2 min.

3SUN part of the ETIP PV steering committee with Marina Foti

Our Head of Advanced Technology Development, within the Research and Development (R&D) team, has been elected as a member of the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Photovoltaics steering committee. This platform was founded by the European Union to steer research, development and innovation for solar energy. An important appointment that confirms 3SUN’s tangible commitment to supporting the photovoltaic industry in Europe

Wanted by the EU Commission as a part of its recent strategic plan for energy technologies, (SET Plan), the ETIP PV (European Technology and Innovation Platform for Photovoltaics), it is a discussion platform that brings together 200 professionals and experts from the entire European photovoltaic sector. An institution where the appointment of Marina Foti, the head of the Advanced Technology Development, part of the Research and Development (R&D) team at 3SUN, once again proves our company's central role in supporting the European photovoltaic industry.

ETIP PV’s long-term plan aims to steer European research, development and innovation so that Europe can once again be at the centre of the worldwide solar market. A programme that includes the production of fully Made in EU, high-performance cells and panels, responding to the Union’s energy transition requirements.

Elected on 22 May as a member of the ETIP PV steering committee, Marina Foti talked to us about the goals and possibilities offered by this new, important appointment. A recognition that has once again confirmed 3SUN's central role in supporting the European photovoltaic industry and the high technological value embedded in the company and its employees.



Tell us a bit about yourself: what is your role at 3SUN and how long have you been at the company? 

I joined 3SUN in 2018, but I had already worked in the photovoltaic sector for several years before that. I have always worked in the area of Research and Development and technology transfer, allowing me to gain various types of experiences around the world. I worked on the first phase of 3SUN, the one that involved the production of thin-film solar panels from 2011 to 2015. I still work in R&D now, and in particular in the development of more advanced technologies. It is such interesting work, as it means I can stay on the front line and look to future production techniques.


You have just been selected as a member of the ETIP PV steering committee. What does the appointment mean to you? And to 3SUN? 

It is of huge value and confirms the fact that Europe is looking to 3SUN to drive change and restore a European identity to the photovoltaic production chain. This is not an easy moment for the market. Competition from other non-European players is not always fair, which has driven down prices and created difficulties for companies on our continent. On a personal level, on the other hand, it is an appointment that I consider to be the crowning moment of my experience so far. I will do my best to use this opportunity to guide research to areas that are closer to manufacturing.


The aim of the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Photovoltaics is to shape the research, development and innovation activities in the EU in the solar energy sector: what will your contribution be - what will 3SUN contribute? 

I believe that it will be important to support manufacture by balancing basic research with research applied to the industry. The ETIP PV brings together people from universities, research centres and industry. It is vital to balance these different figures to achieve a common goal. It will also be important to emphasise the high TRL (Technology Readiness Levels), a concept that shows the maturity level of a certain type of technology. The lower the level, the less the technology is ready to enter production. Many low-level TRL projects are funded currently in Europe, and it is important to focus more on the ones with a high TRL, that can keep the industry alive. It is essential to create a “critical mass” that can drive the photovoltaic value chain at all levels. The European solar energy industry must grow to prevent the research we have developed to be applied elsewhere in the world: an unacceptable waste of energy and resources. 


Still in the realm of research and development in the photovoltaic sector, what are the hottest topics in Europe right now?

Technology, for sure. In this, 3SUN has chosen to invest in silicon heterojunction (HJT), which is most definitely the most promising technology for increasing cell performance, not just in terms of efficiency, but also for its reliability, lifespan and final energy production. 3SUN technology is also bifacial, meaning that it takes light from both the front and the rear, guaranteeing +20% more energy produced compared to monofacial panels. HJT is beating the path towards the production of the new Tandem technology, which has two overlapping cells: the bottom cell is made from silicon, while the top cell is made from perovskite and can use the blue part of the solar spectrum, thus further increasing performance.


On this subject, what are 3SUN’s main research, development and innovation projects and what type of challenges are awaiting 3SUN in this new role?

3SUN continues to prove itself as a high-technology company. A value that is reinforced by the high number of people who work on technology and by their determination to be a part of the change. The new production site will soon be built, which will reach 3 Gigawatts per year of capacity. In a market like ours, we need to keep looking ahead. Our next steps will inevitably be increasing the performance of our modules, which much also be more sustainable - reducing the use of “critical” materials such as indium and silver – which will lead to a reduction in costs. These are the three challenges that 3SUN will undertake as a protagonist, in Italy and in Europe.