Empa achieves record 20.4% efficiency for flexible thin film

  • Thin film solar cells
    Thin film solar cells

Scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have developed thin film solar cells on flexible polymer foils with a new record efficiency of 20.4% for converting sunlight into electricity.

Empa said the cells are based on CIGS semiconducting material (copper indium gallium (di)selenide) known for its potential to provide cost-effective solar electricity. The technology is awaiting scale-up for industrial applications.

To make solar electricity affordable on a large scale, scientists and engineers the world over have long been trying to develop a low-cost solar cell, which is both highly efficient and easy to manufacture with high throughput.

The team at Empa's Laboratory for Thin Film and Photovoltaics, led by Ayodhya N. Tiwari, achieved a record 20.4% energy conversion efficiency for thin film CIGS solar cells on flexible polymer substrates, a huge improvement over the previous record of 18.7% achieved by the same team in May 2011.

Tiwari’s team has been investigating and developing various thin film solar cell technologies for some time. Over the years the laboratory has boosted the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of flexible CIGS solar cells time and again, from 12.8% in 1999 – the group’s first world record – to 14.1% in 2005, 17.6% in 2010 and 18.7% in 2011.
 

PV-Tech Storage Promo

Newsletter

Preview Latest
Subscribe
We won't share your details - promise!
Next Generation Solar PV Finance

Publications

  • Photovoltaics International 24th Edition

    Signs earlier in the year of the global industry entering a growth phase have now been confirmed beyond any doubt. Almost all the big-name suppliers have now announced some form of manufacturing capacity expansion, a trend that analysts agree will only gather pace as long as the levels of demand predicted over the next few years turn out to be correct.

  • Manufacturing The Solar Future: The 2014 Production Annual

    Although the past few years have proved extremely testing for PV equipment manufacturers, falling module prices have driven solar end-market demand to previously unseen levels. That demand is now starting to be felt by manufacturers, to the extent that leading companies are starting to talk about serious capacity expansions later this year and into 2015. This means that the next 12 months will be a critical period if companies throughout the supply chain are to take full advantage of the PV industry’s next growth phase.

Partners

Acknowledgements

Solar Media