record of 20.1% efficiency reported by researchers at ZSW
May 6, 2010
- Mark Osborne - pv-tech.org
U.S. research institute NREL held the conversion efficiency record for copper,
indium, gallium, and selenium (CIGS) solar cells for 16 years but has lost this
accolade to scientists at the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung
Baden-Württemberg, Germany (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, ZSW).
ZSW, based in Stuttgart, has demonstrated CIGS cell efficiency of 20.1% on a 0.5-square-centimetre
cell. The Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany has confirmed the new results.
record is for thin-film technology in general and not just CIGS solar cells,"
noted Dr. Michael Powalla, member of the board and head of the photovoltaics division
at ZSW. "It is the result of continuous systematic research which has been supported
for years by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and
Nuclear Safety, the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics and the European Community.
A major factor in achieving this top position was the close cooperation between
basic research at the university, applied research at the ZSW, and production
development at our industrial partner Würth Solar.”
The solar cell consists
of the semiconducting CIGS layer and contact layers. It has a total thickness
of only four thousandths of a millimetre.
The new efficiency record shows
the great potential of CIGS technology for lower-cost, efficient photovoltaic
systems. Michael Powalla assumes that efficiency levels of up to 15% can also
be achieved in commercial modules within the next few years.
The ZSW is
the R&D partner of Würth Solar.