Hi-tech equipment manufacturer Manz has set a new efficiency record for a CIGS thin-film module of 16%.

The record has been verified by testing house TÜV Rheinland.

Made on Manz’s mass production line in Germany, the module incorporates a CIGS cell produced by the company’s development partner, the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) in Stuttgart, which achieved a 21.7% efficiency record last September.

Manz CEO Dieter Manz said the module, unveiled today at the SNEC show in China, demonstrated the potential of CIGS technology to close the efficiency gap with multi-crystalline silicon equipment.

"With significantly lower production costs compared to crystalline solar cells, CIGS technology will play a large role in the coming investment cycle of the photovoltaics industry," Manz said.

Manz said the record was achieved by transferring the insights garnered from the ZSW team that developed the record-breaking cell last year into mass production. Other innovations include a new module design to increase the active module surface and measures to reduce optical losses.

"This great success demonstrates the future potential of CIGS thin-film technology and emphasises nothing less than our claim to technology leadership," said Manz.

"Building on the know-how of ZSW and our own experts, it is thus absolutely realistic that we will already be able to present module efficiencies of significantly higher than 17% in the near future, produced on our innovative production line in Schwäbisch Hall. We have already mastered the necessary processes in the lab, such as the after-treatment of CIGS coatings. The goal of our joint efforts is the further reduction of electricity costs – around the world, under all climatic conditions."

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