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