Innovation Driver AI: Development and Optimization of Photovoltaic Materials

Erlangen/Nuremberg, April 18, 2024 - Photovoltaics is a key technology for the energy transition. In order to achieve the necessary increase in global use of low-cost solar power, innovative solar cell concepts must be implemented more quickly. Activities in research and development in this area are rapidly increasing, leading to a wealth of scientific publications. However, their full potential can only be realized if researchers are able to make sense of these ever-increasing amounts of data.

Innovationstreiber KI: Entwicklung und Optimierung von Photovoltaikmaterialien

However, the sheer volume of data is creating limitations in implementing the latest findings. The SOL-AI project, funded by the Helmholtz Association with almost 4 million euros, is creating an AI foundation model that aims to overcome these limitations. This so-called foundation model aims to fundamentally reform material informatics in this field. It is capable of integrating the diversity of experimental data and results in the research of photovoltaic materials, advancing innovations in various areas: from accelerated component development and optimization to the discovery of new solar materials. SOL-AI is expected to develop solutions that will have practical relevance for both research and industry.

HI ERN, as part of the Forschungszentrum Jülich, contributes its domain knowledge in photovoltaics with its entire database and thus prepares the basis for training the AI models.


Foundation models are AI applications that are able to solve a range of complex problems based on a very broad knowledge base. OpenAI´s popular ChatGPT chatbot is also based on such a model. Foundation models are significantly more powerful and flexible than conventional AI models and are also suitable for scientific applications. Through targeted training with large amounts of data and the use of generative AI, they are able to understand complex relationships based on learned patterns, generate new relationships and make predictions.

Project Partners

Participating Helmholtz Centers: Forschungszentrum Jülich (Coordination), Karlsruher Institute for Technology, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, and Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon.


In addition to SOL-AI, the Helmholtz Association is funding three other pilot projects and the necessary infrastructure with around 23 million euros.

More Information

Press Release of Helmholtz Association


Prof. Christoph Brabec

Director and Head of Research Department High Throughput Methods in Photovoltaics

    Building Helmholtz-Erlangen /
    Room 367
    +49 9131/85-25462

    Dr. Jens Hauch

    Abteilungsleiter Teamleiter "High Throughput Materials and Devices"

      Building HIERN-Immerwahrstr /
      Room 1.12
      +49 9131-12538301

      Last Modified: 04.07.2024