The National Solar Energy Institute (Institute National de L’Energie Solaire – INES) is France’s center of reference in the field of solar energy. Based at Savoie Technolac on the shores of Lake Bourget, the institute was set up with the backing of Savoie Départemental Council and Rhône-Alpes Regional Council, and includes research and development teams from the CEA (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives), CNRS, University of Savoie and CSTB .
The research teams of INES investigate all aspects of solar photovoltaic energy – silicon materials, cells, modules, systems, electricity storage, demonstrations and tests. The institute’s scientists are currently studying methods for producing solar-quality silicon metal, increasing the efficiency of solar cells and developing storage systems for innovative forms of energy.
In the field of solar thermal, R&D will be carried out to optimize existing products and to adapt these products according to their usage or the complementary energy used (wood, gas, etc.). Other research fields include the development of combined systems (hot water and heating) and solar climate control.
Building-integrated solar energy and the active management of combined thermal and electrical sources are also major research streams for INES, whose objective is to develop “positive energy” technologies that produce more energy than they consume.
INES is also carrying out important research into solar mobility.