The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW), Baden-Württemberg, Germany, has set a new world record of 20.8% for copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells. This is the first time that thin-film solar cell beats the best performed multicrystalline (or polycrystalline) silicon cell with 20.4% efficiency. The results have been officially confirmed by third party, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.
According to Prof. Dr. Michael Powalla from ZSW that the new record shows that CIGS technology still has untapped technological and economic potential. ZSW is now working to transfer the optimized CIGS process to modules. “It may take a little time for the higher efficiency to be reflected in production,” Powalla notes. “But 16 to 18% in commercial modules is possible over the next few years.” Market available CIGS modules currently stand at 14 to 15% of efficiency.
Compared to standard solar cells, thin-film solar cells 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 solar modules.