Swiss lab hits new efficiency record for thin film CIGS solar cells

Thin Film Solar Cells: New World Record for Solar Cell Efficiency hits 20.4% efficiency

Empa hits new world record with their thin-film CIGS solar cells

The Swiss Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) didn’t just break the old thin film efficiency record by a small amount.    Their new CIGS thin film solar cells on flexible polymer foils smashed the old record of 18.7% by hitting a 20.4% efficiency rate.

The team achieved the new CIGS on polymer foil record by modifying the properties of the CIGS (copper, indium, gallium, (di)selenide) layer that absorbs the sunlight.   Their new record beats the efficiency for glass substrate CIGS cells, and closes the “efficiency gap” between thin film and more traditional polycrystalline solar cells.

Thin film cells on polymer foil are lightweight and flexible, and can be used in a whole bunch of areas where silicon cells can’t be used such as building facades, cars, portable electronics, in addition to roofs.  They can be made by continuous roll-to-roll manufacturing methods that help reduce costs.

The lab is now collaborating with Flisom, a start up that is working to industrialize the manufacture of CIGS solar cells, to scale up their new process.

via: Science Daily


One thought on “Swiss lab hits new efficiency record for thin film CIGS solar cells

  1. This reduced material requirement along with current technologies being capable of large-area deposition of a-Si, the scalability of this type of cell is high. However, because it is amorphous, it has high inherent disorder and dangling bonds, making it a bad conductor for charge carriers. These dangling bonds act as recombination centers that severely reduce the carrier lifetime and pin the Fermi energy level so that doping the material to n- or p- type is not possible. Amorphous Silicon also suffers from the Staebler-Wronski effect, which results in the efficiency of devices utilizing amorphous silicon dropping as the cell is exposed to light. The production of a-Si thin film solar cells uses glass as a substrate and deposits a very thin layer of silicon by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). A-Si manufacturers are working towards lower costs per watt and higher conversion efficiency with continuous research and development on Multijunction solar cells for solar panels. Anwell Technologies Limited recently announced its target for multi-substrate-multi-chamber PECVD, to lower the cost to US$0.5 per watt.

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