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CIGS thin film solar cells beat silicon efficiency

Posted: 08 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Empa? thin film? solar cell? CIGS? silicon?

Their goal is admittedly ambitious, however these E.U. scientists believe they have to collective abilities to surmount the engineering hurdles they have already identified as holding back thin-film CIG-based cells from achieving efficiencies rivalling silicon. Plus they have the funding they need to do it, but their motivation is humanitarian, not for profit, giving their efforts a better chance of success.

"Our next step is to collaborate with our partners on this very ambitious project with a plan on which all the project partners are enthusiastic to bring their expertise to bear. I don't think we, as scientists, are just working for the end game, our ambitions and targets keep on rising, and we set new challenging targets as we go along. So our endeavour is to try our best until easily affordable solar electricity for all around the world is available. We have to work on processes suitable for industrial production and collaborate to transfer know-how into innovative ideas," added Tiwari.


The 3.5-year programme has two goals the most ambitious of which is it rival silicon with 25 per cent efficiency for thin-film solar cells. (Source: Empa)

The other project partners, besides Empa and ZSW, include the universities of Luxembourg, Rouen, Parma and Aalto, Imec, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) fur Materialien und Energie, the International Iberian Nano-technology Laboratory (INL), Flisom AG and Manz CIGS Technology GmbH.

Empa has achieved over 20 per cent efficiency for CIGS-based thin-film cells on plastic foil, and ZSW has topped Empa at 21.7 per cent and the rest of the partners believe they have identified the areas that need improvement to achieve 25 per cent, namely improve absorption, more efficient surfaces and interfaces along with optimising light management.

The consortium's ultimate goal is to best Asia's multi-junction solar cells with a cheaper single-junction thin film cell that reduces the cost of manufacturing solar modules in Europe below that in China, namely to $0.38 per watt-peak for wearables, households and even grid-sized mass produced installations, according to Tiwari.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times

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