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SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call
Deadline: 02 Oct 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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 Energy Efficiency
 Intelligent Energy
 Natural Resources
 Renewable Energy
 Environmental protection
 Industrial Engineering

1. Introduction

The SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call is carried out by national / regional research and technology development (RTD) and innovation programmes and national / regional funding agencies in the field of solar electricity generation, i.e. photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) / solar thermal electricity (STE). The Joint Call is commonly carried out by the following countries and regions: Austria, Belgium-Flanders and Wallonia, Cyprus, France, Germany and North-Rhine- Westphalia, Greece, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

The total budget provided by national and regional funding agencies as well as by the European Commission is 22 million euros. The specific funding budgets provided by the funding agencies are listed in the Annex “National and Regional Requirements”.

Important dates:

  •   Official opening of the Call: 4 June 2018

  •   Webinar: 21 June 2018

  •   Deadline for submitting preproposals: 2 October 2018, 16:00 CET

  •   Full proposal round: 10 December 2018 – 25 February 2019

  •   Feedback on funding decisions by end of May 2019 and project starts from September 2019 on


2. Participating States, Organisations and Programmes

The participating national SOLAR-ERA.NET partners / contact points are listed in Table 1. Each applicant have to check the project idea with the national contact point as early as possible in the preproposal phase, at the latest before submitting any applications.




3. Scope and Topics of the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call

SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call topics are based on priorities identified in the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan resp. in the subsequent Implementation Plans for PV and CSP that are available on the website and on SETIS (PV and CSP). They include strategic targets that shall serve as reference for this call and proposals to be submitted. Strategic targets of the Implementation Plans for PV and CSP are as follows:

For PV:
Overarching goals: re-build European technological leadership in the sector by pursuing high- performance PV technologies and their integration in the European energy system; bring down the levelized cost of electricity from PV rapidly and in a sustainable manner to allow competition in electricity markets all over Europe. This will be achieved by:

1. Major advances in efficiency of established technologies (Crystalline Silicon and Thin Films- c-Si and TFs) and new concepts:
• Increase PV module efficiency by at least 20% by 2020 compared to 2015 levels;
• Increase PV module efficiency by at least 35% by 2030 compared to 2015, including with the intro- duction of novel PV technologies;

2. Reduction of the cost of key technologies:
• Reduce turn-key system costs by at least 20% by 2020 as compared to 2015;
• Reduce turn-key system costs by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2015 with the introduction of novel, potentially very-high-efficiency PV technologies manufactured at large scale;

3. Further enhancement of lifetime, quality and sustainability:
• Maintain proven system energy output per year at least 80% of initial level for 30 years by 2020 and 35 years by 2025;
• Minimise life-cycle environmental impact along the whole value chain of PV electricity generation, increase recyclability of module components (in particular of modules);

4. Enabling mass realisation of "(near) Zero Energy Buildings" (NZEB) by Building-Integrated PV (BIPV) through the establishment of structural collaborative innovation efforts between the PV sector and key sectors from the building industry:
• Develop BIPV elements, which at least include thermal insulation and water protection, to entirely replace roofs or facades and reduce their additional cost by 50% by 2020, and by 75% by 2030 compared to 2015 levels, including with flexibility in the production process;

• Recognise the importance of aesthetics in the activities of the implementation of NZEB;

5. Major advances in manufacturing and installation:
• Make available GW-scale manufacturing technologies that reach productivity and cost targets consistent with the capital cost targets for PV systems;
• Develop PV module and system design concepts that enable fast and highly automated installation, to reduce the installation costs of both ground-mounted arrays and PV building renovation solutions, by 2020.


For CSP:
1. Short-term: > 40% cost reduction by 2020 (from 2013) translating into
• Supply price < 10 c€/kWh for a radiation of 2050 kWh/m2/year (conditions in Southern Europe)
2. Longer-term: develop the next generation of CSP/STE technology
• New cycles (including supercritical ones) with a first demonstrator by 2020, with the aim to achieve additional cost reductions and opening new business opportunities.

2020 targets above-mentioned are to be adapted accordingly to the transnational projects’ end year (i.e. 2022).

The strategic targets are translated into a set of topics for the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call and are based on the Implementation Plans developed by the Temporary Working Groups for PV resp. CSP and published end of 2017 (available on the website)

The SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call comprises five topics: A) Advanced industrial PV technologies
B) Emerging PV technologies
C) Building and infrastructure integrated PV
D) Operation and diagnosis of PV plants
E) CSP low cost and next generation technologies



Topic A – Advanced industrial PV technologies

Scope: Proposals aim at developing and implementing from advanced laboratory technologies to high-throughput industrial manufacturing processes, materials and equipment. Areas addressed should therefore contribute to the further development of advanced industrial PV technologies.

Envisaged time to market for technologies supported: 2 - 4 years

Areas / subtopics:
A1. Passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC), heterojunction (HJT) technologies and advanced passivating concepts for crystalline silicon solar cells
A2. High-performance silicon-based cells (>24%) and modules
A3. Advanced thin film technologies, in particular copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS)
A4. Advanced and new interlayers, metallization, transparent conductive oxides, etc.
A5. Manufacturing issues and next generation processing equipment for advanced solar cells A6. Cell interconnection methods and equipment
A7. PV module encapsulation technologies and equipment
A8. New inline characterization methods and tools
A9. Industry 4.0 (“smart factory”) approaches to advanced PV manufacturing

TRL: 4 to 7

Topic B – Emerging PV technologies

Scope: Proposals aim at raising emerging solar cell technologies with high efficiency / low cost potential to the industrial scale and beyond.

Envisaged time to market for technologies supported: 3 - 5 years

Areas / subtopics:
B1. Silicon-based tandem technologies, namely with perovskites and III/V semiconductors B2. Thin film tandem and multiple junction technologies
B3. Perovskite solar cells
B4. Organic solar cells
B5. Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC)
B6. Concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) and high concentration photovoltaics (HCPV)
B7. Ultra-high efficiency concepts

TRL: 3 to 5

Topic C – Building and infrastructure integrated PV

Scope: Proposals aim at developing a market pull approach for innovative and integrated PV solutions that will allow a faster and broader market uptake of new PV technologies and more intensive and multi-functional use of the available surface on buildings and urban infrastructure both for new constructions and renovations, while enhancing quality, reliability and lifetime of the products and reducing costs.

Envisaged time to market for technologies supported: 2 - 4 years

Areas / subtopics:
C1. Innovative BIPV module technologies, e.g. lamination, colours, shapes, reflectivity, bifacial, etc.

  1. C2.  Customized industrial processes for BIPV solutions

  2. C3.  New concepts and solutions for building and urban infrastructure integrated PV

  3. C4.  Advanced integration of PV into standard building components and systems

  4. C5.  PV as part of advanced highly energy efficient building concepts

TRL: 4 to 7

Topic D – Operation and diagnosis of PV plants

Scope: Proposals aim at developing and demonstrating technical solutions, business processes and business models that can support high plant performance, availability and income at reasonable costs for advanced monitoring, operations and maintenance (O&M) over the expected lifetime of the PV plant. If improvements of PV plant operation and diagnosis require a consideration of the plant’s integration into the energy system those questions may be included.

Envisaged time to market for technologies supported: 2 - 4 years

Areas / subtopics:
D1. Advanced and automated functions for data analysis, fault detection, diagnosis, maintenance planning and/or reporting
D2. Interoperability, standardization and auto-configuration of sensors, data acquisition, inverters and communication systems within PV plants and between PV plants and central monitoring systems (Industry 4.0 / Internet of Things);

TRL: 6 to 7

Topic E – CSP low cost and next generation technologies

Scope: Proposals aim at short term cost reductions or developing next generation technology. The topic applies to all CSP technologies including CSP-Stirling.

Envisaged time to market for technologies supported: 2 - 4 years

Areas / subtopics:
E1. Development of innovative Heat Transfer Fluids (HTF) and systems to increase operating temperatures, lower water consumption, environmental acceptance, and increase solar field efficiencies
E2. Improved solar collector/heliostat and support structure to reduce the structural costs
E3. Improved selective coatings for receivers (absorber tubes and central receivers)
E4. Development of innovative short-term and long-term thermal storage
E5. Development of thermal cycles and BOP for solar and non-solar hybridisation and integration concepts
E6. Development of techniques to reduce O&M costs: control and operation
E7. Development of measuring and test methods for recording the quality of components and subsystems

TRL: 4 to 7

IMPORTANT: Not all programmes / funding agencies will accept applications in all topics (see Table 2 and in the Annex “National / Regional Requirements”) and for all Technology Readiness Levels (TRL’s), and some will prioritise some topics over others. Lower TRL research activities necessary to support demonstration and validation activities might be potentially in scope for SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 funding, where they are a minor but integral part of wider projects which progress a technology though to TRL’s of this topic. Applicants have to check with their national / regional contact points whether the project idea fits within the national / regional constraints as early as possible but at least before submitting a preproposal.

Eligible topics and areas / subtopics are shown in Table 2 for each funding organisation participating in the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call. Further information can be found in the Annex with specific national and regional requirements (accepted TRL’s, type of organisations and RDI supported, etc.).


4. Application Issues for the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call

4.1 Timeline and Process

The call is set up as a two-step submission procedure, consisting of a preproposal phase and a full proposal phase. Further information is available with the Guidelines for Users of the Electronic Submission System available on the website. It is a pre-screen of what will be required in the application. Applicants shall not fill in this PDF but enter data online in the Electronic Submission System (ESS). The most relevant dates and deadlines are given in Table 3.

Table 3: Dates and Deadlines for the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call

4 June 2018
Publication of the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call

21 June 2018
Brokering webinar

2 October 2018, 16:00 CET
Deadline for submission of preproposals

10 December 2018
Communication on applications selected for full proposal round

25 February 2019, 16:00 CET
Deadline for submission of full proposals

End of May 2019
Final funding decisions communicated to proposers

Around September 2019
Start of projects funded


  1. Before submitting a preproposal, all project partners have to contact their respective national / regional programme funding organisations in order to discuss the project line-up and funding conditions (contacts listed in Table 1).

  2. A preproposal is mandatory. It has to be submitted by the coordinator and partners through an online application form accessible via within the deadline set. Applicants are invited to register in the Electronic Submission System as early as possible.

  3. National / regional organisations will then carry out their eligibility check (and pre-evaluation for some funding agencies) based on the preproposal and the respective national / regional funding rules. Independent international experts will evaluate the preproposals. Applicants will be provided with feedback after the review of their preproposal, including the information on whether or not they are selected for submitting a full proposal. More specifically, the Joint Call secretariat will inform the coordinator of the application by e-mail on 5th December 2018. If the coordinator has not received any e-mail, he / she shall contact the Call secretariat. Recommendations for the full proposals according to the national / regional rules and principles may then be provided.

  4. The full proposal has to be submitted by the applicants (invited for the full proposal phase) through an online application form accessible via within the deadline set. Additionally, national / regional funding applications may have to be submitted separately according to their specific rules (see Annex – National / Regional Requirements).

  5. Full proposals meeting all national / regional requirements will be evaluated by independent international experts according to the evaluation criteria specified in the call. Based on the result of the international evaluation and funding budget available, proposals will be selected (or not) for funding.



4.2 Eligibility Issues

Different eligibility aspects have to be considered:

  •   Applications have to be submitted in English through the Electronic Submission System within the deadline set.

  •   Eligible consortia shall consist of a minimum of 2 partners from 2 different countries participating in the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call and providing funding to the project selected. At least one partner in the consortium has to be from industry. The project consortia may involve as many partners as necessary to successfully deliver the project. Partners from countries that are not members of the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 (see list of funding partners under section 2) can join a project consortium as additional partners providing added-value to the project. However, these additional partners have to finance their activities from other sources, as each funding agency will only fund eligible partners from their own country. A letter of commitment must be included as an annex to the full proposal including the commitment of this partner to the project.

  •   All applicants have to fulfil (additional) eligibility criteria of their respective national / regional programme / funding organisation and have to contact their national / regional agency as early as possible in the process to understand if their project is within scope/eligibility.

  •   SME, large companies, non-profit research organisations, higher education institutions, public research organisations and public organisations may participate according to their national / regional financing regulations (see Annex – National / Regional Requirements).

  •   The project duration is limited to max. 36 months.

4.3 Funding Rules

Within this SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call, the funding rules of the national / regional agencies apply. Prior to submitting a preproposal, all project partners seeking funds have to contact their funding agency / contact point. The level of funding available will be determined by the rules of the relevant funding agency. Information about the specific funding rules and applicable topics will be provided via the person in charge of the respective national / regional agencies (see Table 1). Some relevant information is provided in Annex – National / regional Requirements. Each eligible project partner will receive funds from his / her national / regional agency. Each project partner will be responsible for the preparation and submission of all necessary reports required by their respective funding agency in order to obtain funding in full accordance with national / regional rules. The European Commission (as support to SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 (N° 786483) within the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation HORIZON 2020 grant) reimburses 33% of the action's eligible costs by max. EUR 6’624’626. The total maximum funding budget in this SOLAR- ERA.NET Cofund 2 Joint Call is EUR 22’074’626.

4.4 Confidentiality

Project proposals and any information relating to them shall be kept confidential in accordance with the applicable national / regional legislation. Project proposals shall not be used for any purpose other than the evaluation of the applications, making funding decisions and monitoring of the project. International experts, which will be invited to evaluate the proposals, are required to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to evaluating proposals.


Successful projects have to provide a non-confidential project summary that will be published on the SOLAR-ERA.NET website in the interests of knowledge exchange and contributions for the trans- national reporting (details of projects are strictly kept confidential, see section 5).

4.5 Consortium Agreement

A consortium agreement between the project partners will be required. In order to accelerate the selection and contract offer process, a statement on the signature of the consortium agreement should be submitted with the full proposal. Models for consortium agreements can be obtained from national / regional funding agencies or from the EC IPR Helpdesk: The project proposal has to be the foundation for the consortium agreement. The purpose of the consortium agreement is to clarify the responsibilities of the partners, decision processes inside the project, management of any change of partners, how to exploit and/or commercialise the results (for each partner) and IPR issues.

4.6 Evaluation

The evaluation is carried out on a national / regional level for some funding agencies and by independent international experts. The international evaluation criteria are listed in Table 4. The independent international experts will set up a binding ranking list for full proposals evaluated.

Table 4: Set of International Evalution Criterion Used





  •   Clarity and relevance of the project’s objectives;

  •   Credibility of the proposed technology/concept – including trans-disciplinary considerations, where relevant;

  •   Credibility of the proposed project approach;

  •   Ambition and innovation potential - e.g. beyond the current state of the art.


  •   Expected contribution to the reduction in the cost of solar power, low carbon energy system and other relevant Strategic Targets / Key Performance Indicators (section 3);

  •   Expected ability of the project to enhance innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge in the European solar power industry;

  •   Future market deployment potential of the proposed innovation;

  •   Project’s ability to strengthen the competitiveness and growth of European companies by developing innovations that meet the needs of European and global solar power markets and, where relevant, deliver these innovations to the market;

  •   Strength of the proposed research data management, exploitation and dissemination plans (including IPR management proposals, where relevant);

  •   Any other environmental or socially important impacts.


Quality and Efficiency of Implementation

  •   Coherence and expected effectiveness of the project plan, including the appropriateness of task and resource allocation;

  •   Strength of management structures and governance procedures, including risk management;

  •   Consortium strengths and complementarity of project partners.

  •   Added-value through the transnational consortium



5. Funding and Reporting

5.1 Contract

Funding contracts for successful applications are dealt with directly between the project partners and their national / regional funding agencies.

5.2 Start and Instalments

Depending on the national / regional regulations, a pre-condition for transferring the first funding instalments is the existence of a consortium agreement that also includes IPR related issues.

As the national / regional funding contracts may not all become effective at the same time, the project partners i) usually do not receive the instalments and ii) usually are not reviewed / monitored on national / regional level at exactly the same time. The national / regional funders will however aim to agree a common start date for recommended projects.

5.3 Monitoring

Each project partner will be responsible for the necessary reporting to their funding agency according to national / regional rules in order to obtain and maintain funding during the lifetime of their portion of the project. Apart from the national / regional project review, the transnational cooperation aspects will be monitored on the SOLAR-ERA.NET level. The project coordinator on behalf of the consortium is responsible for reporting according to the requirements (reporting at the start, during the course and at the end of project with a publishable summary and further information for internal reporting, participation in questionnaires and dedicated workshops, provide the Consortium Agreement signed).

Any substantial change in an on-going project has to be reported immediately to the involved funding organisations and the Call secretariat. The project partners should be aware that changes might have effects on funding.

5.4 Dissemination and Data

Project partners are required to refer to SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 in their publications, exhibitions, lectures and press information concerning results of the SOLAR-ERA.NET Cofund 2 projects. Acknowledgement should be: Project [your project] is supported under the umbrella of SOLAR- ERA.NET Cofund 2 by [list of all national agencies supporting your project]. SOLAR-ERA.NET is supported by the European Commission within the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation HORIZON 2020 (Cofund ERA-NET Action, N° 786483).

To demonstrate the added value of transnational cooperation projects, results from the call shall be disseminated. This process can be tackled via different channels, e.g.:

  •   Conferences with relevant stakeholders to inform about the project results.

  •   Publication of a short outline of funded projects on the SOLAR-ERA.NET and national / regional websites. This information may also be used by SOLAR-ERA.NET for further dissemination. Further details of projects are strictly kept confidential. They can be published only in agreement with the project partners and where there is value in doing so.

  •   Press conferences and workshops.

The funding agencies will check if a declaration on compliance and/or authorisation is required under national law for collecting and processing personal data as described in the Annex 1 of the Grant Agreement N° 786483. If yes, the declaration on compliance and/or authorisation must be kept on file. If no declaration on compliance or authorisation is required under the applicable national law, a statement from the designated Data Protection Officer that all personal data collection and processing will be carried out according to EU and national legislation will be kept on file.

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