European Commission
CHEETAH knowledge Exchange Portal is an integral part of CHEETAH project web site powered and developed by DTE unit of ENEA ©2014 - 2018 with support of all CHEETAH Partners. Starting from early 2018, CHEETAH KEP moved its first steps to became EERA Knowledge Exchange Platform for PV Technology (KEPT-PV). A new name for the previous platform characterizing our will to serve better and more efficiently in Knowledge Exchange a wider European and International PV RTD community.
highlights in this page

CEA-INES Heterojunction Pilot line

  • CEA-INES Silicon Cell Platform
  • Heterojunction Pilot Line

Technical Info

CEA-INES Heterojunction pilot line belongs to CEA, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives). It  develops advanced crystalline silicon-based photovoltaïc devices.



The CEA-INES silicon cell platform includes 1200m2 of multi technologies labscale clean-rooms and a 1500m2 50MW pilot line dedicated to the silicon heterojunction (SHJ) technology. Process developments and equipment improvements are carried out at every step along with disruptives approaches in R&D mode or prototyping mode.

The herojunction Pilot Line consists in a set of industrial equipment offering >1200 wafer per hour throughput, i.e. a 50MW/year nominal capacity when operated 24/24 & 7/7. In practice, CEA team operate the line for a few dozens to a few thousands cell batches with wafers as thin as 90µm. It offers (as in Dec. 2017) a:

  • >21.5% efficiency baseline for bifacial rear-emitter SHJ with busbar design 
  • > 22.5% efficiency for busbar-less cells. 

It can also be used punctually for thinner wafers or another sizes. And it can be operated for single step processing to the whole SHJ integration.

Ordered as cell integration,

  • the first equipment is a 1500 wph inspection system from Semilab, equipped with in-line metrology in order to sort as-cut wafers from resisitivity, thickness, shape, defects and contamination data. The machine places wafers inside 100 positions cassettes in order to operate wet treatments.
  • The wet process tool of the line is a Gamma Solar batch system from Akrion. It can run up to 2500 wph for pre-clean, alkaline etch, texturization, cleaning and HF last.
  • Regarding aSi:H deposition, the line has 2 industrial equipments. A parallel plate PECVD line from Jusung running at 1300 wph and a last generation ‘box in the box’ PECVD cluster tool from Meyer Burger operated at 2400 wph.
  • The transparent conductive oxide (TCO) deposition is performed on a flexible up to 2400 wph PVD line from Meyer Burger. It offers multiple deposition chambers with different targets, planar and rotative, in order to test different materials, with ITO as a reference.
  • The metallization is performed by screen printing on an AMAT line (Baccini). It consists in 3 printing heads, drying and curing furnaces, Busbar and busbar-less IV testers coupled with sorting.
  • The pilot line also offer a set of characterization equipments: Sinton WCT-120 and SunVoc for effective lifetime measurement and cell’s implied parameters analyse. Spectro-reflectometer, spectroscopic ellipsometer and 4-point probe for surface morphology, aSi:H and TCO characterization.



  • The pilot line can operate large amount of cell for 156x156 wafers , but is limited to smaller batches for other sizes, cell design or thin wafers.
  • The acces can be allowed with technical and scientific assistance from CEA-INES.
  • The cell integration process is realized by INES technical staff.



  • Process engineering,
  • SHJ process service and whole cell elaboration are proposed, from small batches to > 10 000 cells for module topics.
  • Training and industrial transfer are also offered.

As-cut silicon wafers from commercial suppliers or from CEA-INES crystallisation and wafering R&D activities can be provided if necessary.



Contact this infrastructure


Participation to Research Projects:

The infrastuture is partecipating in  several national and international research and industrial projects in 

  • Experimental studies and prototyping on different heterojunction cell type and designs: standard aSi:H/cSi heterojunction, whatever bifacial or not, front or rear emitter ;
  • interdigited back contact SHJ ;
  • SHJ precursors for tandem applications.


  • HERCULES project targets the development of the next generation of photovoltaics in Europe
  • AMPERE Automated Photovoltaic cell and Module industrial production to regain and secure European renewable market



CEA-INES  | Building Ecureuil  50 avenue du Lac Léman | 73370-Le Bourget-du-Lac, France

Main contact

ROUX Charles

Other contacts

DANEL Adrien