PV Science

Solar Frontier Achieves 19.7% CIGS Solar Cell Efficiency, Breaks 10-Year Record
PV couche mince - Industrie
Dimanche, 13 Janvier 2013 22:10

Solar Frontier, in joint research with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), has achieved a world record-breaking energy conversion efficiency of 19.7% for cadmium-free,

thin-film solar cells measuring approx. 0.5 cm2, as measured by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). It has been ten years since the previous record of 18.6% was set.

This world record was achieved using cells cut from a 30cm x 30cm substrate, rather than specifically-developed small area cells, demonstrating high potential for further increases. Moreover, the formation method utilized by Solar Frontier to achieve the result is the same method it uses for mass-production, a process of sputtering followed by selenization. Solar Frontier has chosen this method over co-evaporation due to greater efficiencies in mass production and aims to surpass the current record of 20.3% efficiency set with the co-evaporation method.

Efficiency improvements help make solar panels smaller (for the same output), which has both practical, convenience, and sometimes cost benefits, such as a reduction of installation cost.

CIGS is the acronym for Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenium — the components of the technology. Solar Frontier refers to its CIGS cells as CIS — however, they do contain gallium, so they are technically CIGS.

CIGS solar cells are thin-film and it may be possible for them to be deposited onto a substrate, rather than sawed from a solid material as silicon wafer cells are. However, this has been a challenge. Notably, CIGS solar panels can also be flexible, opening them up to a variety of useful applications.

“The CIS thin-film modules currently available from Solar Frontier have gained a reputation for high performance in actual power generation, as they are not easily affected by shadows or high temperatures,” said Satoru Kuriyagawa, Chief Technology Officer at Solar Frontier, in a statement announcing the result. “Now, even higher real-world performance can be expected by applying this new basic technology.”

About solar Frontier

Solar Frontier is a Japanese solar cell manufacturer that develops and manufactures CIS (denoting copper, indium, selenium) thin-film solar modules. It’s currently manufacturing 900 MW of 13%-efficient solar cells annually.

Source: Solar frontier

 
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