CIGS firms duke it out for efficiency crown

The makes of CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) solar cells are all claiming various levels of efficiency. The latest comes from Global Solar Energy, Ine (GSE), who today announced that they have achieved a breakthrough for their cells and have achieved an average of 10 percent efficiency “on a flexible, lightweight substrate over several production runs.” The key words in that sentence are ‘several production runs’, since several other CIGS firms have announced as high or higher efficiencies from cells in their labs, but have so far not been able to mass produce them. Global Solar also announced that they are building a new plant in Tucson, AZ, which is supposed to start production in March.

Other companies that are producing CIGS include Nanosolar, who claim similar level of efficiency for their cells, and Daystar Technologies, who have only produced a limited number of glass substrate CIGS cells (meaning that they’re not flexible like the Global Solar and Nanosolar products). Higher efficiencies in the lab have also been announced. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) built a CIGS cell on glass that is 19.5% efficient, and they have also built a flexible CIGS cell that is 17.5% efficient.

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