Empa research team sets new flexible CIGS efficiency record

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

A team of scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, led by Ayodhya Tiwari, has broken their own conversion efficiency record for flexible CIGS solar cells with an 18.7% efficiency measurement. The team previously set the 17.6% record in June 2010 and has had its new record independently certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany.

“The new record value for flexible CIGS solar cells of 18.7% nearly closes the ‘efficiency gap’ to solar cells based on polycrystalline silicon (Si) wafers or CIGS thin film cells on glass”, says Tiwari. He continued by expressing his belief that, “flexible and lightweight CIGS solar cells with efficiencies comparable to the ‘best-in-class’ will have excellent potential to bring about a paradigm shift and to enable low-cost solar electricity in the near future.”

The Empa team worked with scientists at Flisom, to advance the low-temperature growth of CIGS layers to produce flexible CIGS cells that improved efficiency to 18.7% from 2005’s 14.1%. Empa researchers maintain that this is the highest score for any type of flexible solar cell grown on polymer or metal foil.

Empa scientists explained that they achieved the record efficiency by decreasing the recombination losses through the structural properties of the CIGS layer and used its proprietary low-temperature deposition process to grow the layers. Additionally, they used in situ doping with Na during the final stage, which they state led to the polymer films to achieve such a high efficiency. “Our results clearly show the advantages of the low-temperature CIGS deposition process for achieving highest efficiency flexible solar cells on polymer as well as metal foils”, says Tiwari.

Empa noted “record efficiencies of up to 17.5% on steel foils covered with impurity diffusion barriers were so far achieved with CIGS growth processes at temperature exceeding 550°C.” However, when the team used the low-temperature CIGS deposition process it developed with Flisom on steel foil without a diffusion barrier, the performance was in line with that attained through the high-temperature procedure and was followed by a 17.7% efficiency. This has led the scientists to conclude, “that commonly used barrier coatings for detrimental impurities on metal foils would not be required.”

Empa Director Gian-Luca Bona acknowledge the achievement by stating, “What we see here is the result of an in-depth understanding of the material properties of layers and interfaces combined with an innovative process development in a systematic manner. Next, we need to transfer these innovations to industry for large-scale production of low cost solar modules to take off.” Empa and Flisom are continuing their partnership to enhance the manufacturing processes and increase production.

9 December 2021
The Smart Energy Council is hosting Australia’s second Virtual Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition on Thursday, 9 December 2021. This event will show that the industry powers on despite COVID-19 and we are standing together undeterred in spirit. Bringing our global community together using the latest technology.
13 January 2022
Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America “Come Together” for the first time in Long Beach, CA—connecting installers, developers, utilities, technology providers, policy makers, and key stakeholders from around the world to advance the clean energy future. With best-in-class conference programming, integrated exhibits and pavilions, and the live Solar Games installer competition, #isnaesna21 will showcase the industry trends, innovative solutions, and emerging talent transforming the solar, energy storage, and e-mobility markets. Register today to redeem our exclusive offer for PV Tech readers—free expo hall or 20% off full conference pass.
1 February 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.

Read Next

December 3, 2021
Norwegian module marketplace company Otovo has launched in Germany, with the company expecting 1,000 new customers over the next year
December 3, 2021
Solar investor and asset manager NextEnergy Capital Group (NEC) has secured backing from the UK Infrastructure Bank for a new fund that aims to raise £500 million (US$663 million) to invest in subsidy-free solar power plants in the UK.
December 3, 2021
Indian independent power producer (IPP) ReNew Power has signed an agreement with Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to develop green hydrogen facilities, becoming the latest PV developer to do so after a string of recent announcements
December 3, 2021
Koch Engineered Solutions (KES) LLC has acquired US engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm DEPCOM, which specialises in utility-scale solar PV projects, for an undisclosed amount
December 3, 2021
Heterojunction cell and module manufacturer Meyer Burger has reduced module output at one of its production plants in Germany as COVID-19 is causing above-average workforce absences due to illness and quarantine orders.
December 3, 2021
Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor (TZS) has become the latest solar wafer manufacturer to cut prices, while also launching a new 218.2mm-size wafer.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 1, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal