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Solar thin-film reaches 20.3% efficiency

A solar thin-film cell has reached a top efficiency of 20.3% at the German Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Germany.

The copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) solar thin-film cell is 0.5 cm2 and has a total thickness of 4 µm. ZSW says the efficiency record minimises the advance of multi-crystalline solar cells over thin-film to only 0.1%.

“Our researchers have made the cells in a CIGS laboratory coating plant using a modified co-evaporation process, which in principle can be scaled up to commercial production processes,” says Dr Michael Powalla, Member of the Board and Head of the Photovoltaics Division at ZSW.

Powalla adds, however, that it will be some time before the high-efficiency CIGS solar thin-film cells can be commercialised.

The efficiency record has been confirmed by Franhofer ISE.

ZSW says the efficiency of the relatively low-priced CIGS solar thin-film modules could rise from around 11% to about 15%. Furthermore, CIGS solar thin-film is expected to double its market share to 30% by 2012 from 2008 levels.

ZSW cooperates with Würth Solar on the development of CIGS solar thin-film technology.

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