The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) has announced that it has set a new copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cell efficiency record.
The 20.8% record beats ZSW’s own previous record of 20.3% as well as the 20.4% multicrystalline PV cell record — the first time that thin-film solar cell efficiency has surpass multicrystalline PV cell efficiency.
“Our new record shows that CIGS thin-film technology still has untapped technological and economic potential,” says Michael Powalla, head of the photovoltaics division at ZSW.
The record was confirmed by Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.
Of course, thin-film solar PV has some advantages. “Compared to standard solar cells, thin-film photovoltaics saves materials and energy since the coating used is just micrometres thick. This is a considerable cost reduction factor for future production. The experts all agree that the new record demonstrates the great potential of CIGS technology for even more cost-effective and efficient photovoltaics.”
Thin-film solar has always had that low-cost advantage. But for its efficiency (typically its weak spot) to rise, it could really see some market growth. If this can be translated into commercial products.
So, what will this actually translate into in commercial products? “It may take a little time for the higher efficiency to be reflected in production,” Powalla says. “But 16 to 18% in commercial modules is possible over the next few years.”
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