CIGS PV module conversion efficiency contest heats up, as MiaSolé hits 13.8%, Solibro reaches 13%

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Two of the leading manufacturers of CIGS thin-film PV have hit new record highs in module conversion efficiencies. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory has confirmed 13.8% efficiency of MiaSolé’s large-area (meter-square) production panels, while Fraunhofer ISE said that Q-Cells’ subsidiary Solibro has hit 13% total-area (and 14.2% aperture-area) efficiency with its newly rebranded  Q.SMART production modules.

“The modules that we ship in 2011 will have efficiencies greater than 13%,” said Joseph Laia, CEO of MiaSolé. “The only reason that we are not shipping these modules today is that we are awaiting the completion of our UL certifications.”

“We were extremely pleased and impressed by the recent MiaSolé result,” said Ryne Raffaelle, director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at NREL. “This demonstration was a tremendous step forward in closing of the gap between the champion CIGS results and what can be achieved in a large-area production module. It is a clear demonstration of what can be accomplished in a large-area thin film manufacturing environment with CIGS.”

The Santa Clara, CA-based company said it will ship 6.5MW in the first half of this year and expects to ship 22MW in 2010, with the modules designated for utility/industrial-scale deployments such as large-scale rooftop and ground-mount installations.

The German firm’s Q.SMART CIGS thin-film modules (formerly known as CIGS SL1 and SL2) have a homogenous black surface, and come in framed and unframed models up to 110Wp rating. The company is rolling out the modules under the new brand at the Intersolar Europe show.

During its last financial conference call, Q-Cells said that the Solibro unit had hit 9MW of production during the most recent quarter and expected to reach 80MW of output by year’s end.

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