Indian solar module manufacturer Vikram Solar is set to collaborate with France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) on solar PV and energy storage technology development.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed this week during French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to India, during which Macron and Indian PM Narendra Modi officially opened the 75 MW Mirzapur solar PV plant in Uttar Pradesh state.

According to Vikram Solar, the collaboration aims to “enhance research and developments on high efficiency crystalline silicon cells, modules, systems and a host of high efficiency generation and storage technologies” and is aimed at products for the Indian and French markets.

Under the MoU, the CEA will share its knowledge and technologies in the fields of solar power, energy storage, smart grid and thermal efficiency while Vikram Solar will apply the technologies in large-volume manufacturing.

The collaboration’s wider goals, Vikram Solar said, are to improve PV cells and modules to perform at record efficiency in energy conversion, and to increase the capacity of battery storage solutions.

Other areas of collaboration in R&D will include crystallization and wafering, mono- and bi-facial modules, agri-photovoltaics and solar mobility as well as exploring new competitive materials in order to reduce costs, the firm said.

Gyanesh Chaudhary, Vikram Solar’s MD and CEO, said the agreement “will strengthen our focus on newer technology and in turn increase opportunity for both parties to work towards a more sustainable and efficient ecosystem”.

Christophe Gégout, CEA deputy chair, added: “Our association with Vikram Solar comes at a time when the need for renewables is at an all-time high in India as well as globally.

“This is a perfect time for us to leverage our strength in research and development and fuse it with Vikram Solar’s longstanding position as a leading global solar module player with key focus on quality, technology and innovation.”

In addition to work on solar thermal and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies, the CEA says its solar research focuses on improving output and reducing costs for PV modules as well as grid simulation for renewables integration.