New efficiency record achieved for CIGS cells

CIGS cells from EMPA
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have hit a new world record for CIGS flexible solar cells of 18.7 percent.  Their new CIGS cells (copper, indium, gallium, (di)selenide) broke their own previous world record of 17.6 percent, which was achieved last June 2010.  Empa achieved 18.7 percent by better controlling the evaporation process used to grow the CIGS layer of the cell.

While this new world record is still lower than the efficiencies achieved by silicon based solar panels, CIGS cells do have many advantages over silicon based solar cells.  The major advantage is that manufacturing costs should ultimately be much cheaper than silicon cells, because CIGS cells can be manufactured using a roll-to-roll process.  CIGS solar cells are also much lighter and at the same time are also flexible, which allows CIGS cells to be used where the rigid and heavy silicon based solar panels cannot.

The Empa team is working closely with the start up company FLISOM in order to scale up and commercialize this new process.

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