The solar industry's recent growth spurt has shown that success brings new challenges. Once content to salvage silicon scrap from the integrated circuit industry, wafer-based solar cells have become the largest consumer of high-purity silicon. As a result, manufacturers of wafer-based silicon solar cells are caught between rising raw material costs on one side, and less expensive alternative technologies on the other.

IMEC hopes to achieve cost-effective epitaxial deposition on glass, combining the cost advantages of thin film deposition with the performance advantages of high-quality silicon, and driving cost below €1/watt.