ECN Solar Prototyping

We envision a future where solar elements are integrated into  the environment around us —in ways that are efficient, economic, and beautiful. If your company wants to make a solar widget but you don’t have all the expertise, we are here to help you. Not only to just design and prototype your ideas, but to help you to choose the proper materials, introduce you to the right supply chain network including designers and architects. Furthermore, we can enable you to test the idea in a way that you and your customers can interface and understand the product. 

ECN has established ECN Solar Prototyping to work with companies to develop custom-integrated solar products—from idea to market introduction.

Think for example of:

  • Solar building skins
  • Solar roof tiles
  • floating solar panels
  • solar noise barriers along roads
  • solar roads

This page explains about ECN Solar Prototyping and how we can partner with your company to design, develop and successfully bring your solar-integrated product to the market.

What ECN Solar Prototyping can do for you

ECN Solar Prototyping is an open and living laboratory to realise your project. Think of it as a playground  equipped with tools and experts to help design, prototype, and test integrated solar products of all sizes, shapes, colours and applications. 

ECN Solar Prototyping offers installation and testing in a relevant environment where our partners can engage with their customers and target market  to collect feedback and enhance the development process.

For all applications, we work with customers and partners with the aim to deliver products optimised, both technically as well as aesthetically, for the intended environment. 

ECN Solar Prototyping: how does it work?


  1. Market
    First of all, ECN Solar Prototyping aims to address the market at every step of the process. This means that we always consider who the final customer will be and what they will want and need from this product. This input is continuously fed back into the product development process by ECN and our customers and partners.

  2. Specify
    Together, we specify what the product must have, should have and could have; both as a widget as well as a solar product. What sizes, weights, materials, characteristics have to be maintained? What kind of safety testing or benchmarking needs to be done? What competition currently exists? For more common applications, ECN and our partner SEAC have conducted background assessments and published benchmark reports to describe the current technologies and products available, their costs, and benefits.

  3. Design
    ECN Solar Prototyping focuses on matching market demands with technical features and your widgets. To facilitate the design process, ECN has developed advanced simulation models that can predict both annual performance and manufacturing costs of early-stage product designs.

  4. Build
    We offer hands-on (both yours and ours) building and construction of a prototype. ECN Solar Prototyping includes an advanced workspace for integrating solar cells or laminates with your widget of any shape, colour, material or size. The workspace includes various tools and various construction methods (including 3D gluing, ultrasonic welding, and laser welding). In addition, we also bring in our networks of builders and cell/module manufacturers, and experience. The prototype is immediately characterised with power output measurements, electroluminescence, mechanical strength measurements, delamination susceptibility, hail impact or accelerated lifetime tests, as well as various building standard tests.

  5. Validate
    Testing in the ECN Solar Prototyping includes technical and non-technical parameters. In addition to measuring performance in a relevant environment, ECN Solar Prototyping also considers market response and validation of the business case. Users and guests can be invited to participate and comment on the prototype. A business model for the product can be created by initiating structured discussions between various stakeholders. 

Read about the customer experience of construction company Heijmans.

Want more info?
If you want to get in touch with us to see how tECN Solar Prototyping can benefit you, please contact us via our online contact form or download the ECN Solar Prototyping leaflet.