Fraunhofer ISE verifies 13.4% conversion efficiencies for Solarion’s plastic CIGS cells


The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems has independently verified record conversion efficiencies of 13.4% for Solarion’s copper-indium-gallium-(di)selenide photovoltaic cells on a plastic substrate. The 20cm-wide CIGS cells, which do not have an antireflective coating, were processed on the company’s roll-to-roll pilot production line. 
The Leipzig, Germany-based firm did not specify whether the results achieved by Fraunhofer ISE were for full-area or active-area efficiencies.

“This achievement shows that our proprietary ion beam technology for the production of flexible solar cells not only uses less raw materials and energy, but also reaches high conversion efficiencies,” said  Alexander Braun, CTO of Solarion. “This result is not only a world-record efficiency for flexible CIGS solar cells manufactured on a plastic substrate in an industrial roll-to-roll coating process, but is also the highest efficiency for any thin film solar cell on a flexible polymer substrate from a roll-to-roll process, regardless of the absorber material.”  

Ascent Solar, another thin-film PV company developing CIGS-on-plastic cells, has seen NREL-verified efficiencies of 10.4% on modules from its production line.   

Solarion says that its patented ion beam process for producing the CIGS absorber allows for a reduced process temperature and thus enables the use of a flexible polymer substrate.

“The combination of a low-cost polymer substrate, the ion beam technology, and a roll-to-roll production process allows us to reduce manufacturing costs significantly,” explains CEO Karsten Otte.

Solarion, which was founded in 2000, will enter into volume production in 2010. The first product will be a frameless module using its CIGS cells in a glass-glass encapsulation approach, according to the company.

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