14 May 2014
Performance boosted from 15% to 16.2% aperture area; "strengthens business case for CIGS", says firm.Midsummer, Stockholm, Sweden, a developer of production lines for manufacturing of flexible thin film CIGS solar cells, has increased the conversion efficiency of its solar cells from 15% to 16.2% aperture area of the full 156x156mm solar cell. The company says that this increased energy efficiency "further strengthens the business case and attractiveness of thin film CIGS solar cells".
Midsummer has recently managed to increase the efficiency of the whole solar cell to 16.2% aperture area of the full 156x156 mm cell. The solar cell was manufactured in a regular production run and the process has already been implemented into the company's the production line in Stockholm.
“Considering that the solar cell is made on stainless steel, contains no cadmium and that the production process is an all-dry, all vacuum process where all layer,s including the buffer layer, are deposited by sputtering, this achievement by our engineers is truly impressive,” said Sven Lindström, CEO Midsummer.
With the production system from Midsummer, solar cells are manufactured individually and then strung together into modules as with crystalline solar cells. By this means, lightweight flexible modules can easily be made in any size and shape.
A dry, all-vacuum process has less stringent requirements for cleanrooms. And avoiding cadmium in the manufacturing process is desirable for the health of the production staff and also makes it easier to commence the reduced cost manufacturing of CIGS solar cells.
Sven Lindström, CEO, Midsummer, commented, “The global solar cell market is facing a paradigm shift. Fewer large solar energy parks are being built in Europe. Instead, the focus is moving to installations on larger buildings in cities. Our lightweight and flexible thin film solar cells are ideal for this use. It is economically and environmentally more beneficial to use solar energy locally, where it is produced. Our objective is that our technology shall become a leader in the lightweight, flexible solar panel market, and that the company shall grow in tandem with this segment.”
NREL performance chart
The US National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV) at NREL, Golden, near Boulder, CO, USA, focuses on technology innovations that drive industry growth in photovoltaic manufacturing. It publishes a continuously updated chart of the latest record achievements in solar cell efficiencies - including CIGS - which can be seen here.
About the Author
Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org
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