The solar pioneer

Fraunhofer ISE was founded under the leadership of Professor Adolf Goetzberger, at the time Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF.


Rappenecker Hütte Restaurant

1987 sees the first solar-powered restaurant on a hiking trail. A fuel cell was later added to the photovoltaic hybrid power system, transforming it into a groundbreaking off-grid energy supply system.


First clean room

The first clean-room laboratory for the production of high efficiency solar cells was commissioned. Five years later, Fraunhofer ISE set the conversion efficiency record for Cz-silicon solar cells at 21.3%.


Self-sufficient solar house

The first off-grid, entirely solar-powered residential building was constructed. Photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies were supplemented by a fuel cell system. This kick-started a number of developments for energy efficient buildings.


Inspired by moths

Anti-reflective solar glass coating stolen from nature: Tiny nanostructures created through holographic exposure and inspired by the structure of a moth’s eye are invisible to the human eye.


New home for the institute

Fraunhofer ISE’s 20-year anniversary coincides with the inauguration of its first dedicated building. At the time, the instituted employed 300 members of staff.


Three institute directors

Prof. Joachim Luther (right), successor to Prof. Goetzberger (center), hands over the reins to Prof. Eicke R. Weber (left) after 13 years.


Inverter world record

Fraunhofer ISE’s 99%-efficient photovoltaic inverter breaks the previous world record which the institute had already held for over ten years.


Solar-powered hydrogen filling station

A real milestone, Fraunhofer ISE’s hydrogen filling station was opened as a research platform as well as to the public. Hydrogen is instrumental in the energy transition.


III-V solar cell world record

A multi-junction photovoltaic cell comprising III-V semiconductor compounds was developed which converted 46% of incoming sunlight into electrical energy when subjected to concentrated light.


Silicon solar cell world record

With a conversion efficiency of 22.3%, Fraunhofer ISE’s multicrystalline silicon solar cells broke the world record.


Tandem photovoltaics

The introduction of tandem solar cells boosted conversion efficiency. The world conversion efficiency record for a monolithic multi-junction solar cell made of silicon and III-V semiconductor materials stands at 34.1%.


Two at the top

Prof. Andreas Bett and Prof. Hans-Martin Henning have headed Europe’s largest solar research institute, now counting over 1200 employees, for four years.