By Ando D. Kuypers, Thin-Film Technology, TNO – Solliance; Raymond J.W. Knaapen, Senior Systems Engineer, TNO – Solliance; Marc Meuris, Programme Manager and Team Leader, IMEC division IMOMEC – Solliance and IMO Hasselt University; Maarten van der Vleuten, CIGS Process Manager, Smit Ovens; Mirjam Theelen, Research Scientist, TNO – Solliance; Wiro Zijlmans, Director, Smit Ovens
Even in the competitive and turbulent present-day PV market, thin-film PV modules based on copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) have good prospects for capturing a growing market share. Three important factors support the survival and growth of CIGS technology on the market: 1) proven lab results demonstrate considerable room for improvement of conversion efficiency; 2) the potential for cost reduction is high (reduced equipment CAPEX as well as reduced material and BOS costs); and 3) a high degree of freedom in the choice of substrate material and shape
enables efficient application of the technology. These factors should be realized using more-generic or standardized CIGS production equipment to reach economy of scale. Examples of novel and improved strategies for cost-efficient thin-film deposition and absorber formation are presented in this paper. Within the framework of a new thin-film PV research alliance under the name Solliance, a CIGS demonstrator line has recently become available for accelerating R&D of cost-effective processes and equipment, and for demonstrating their capabilities in improving CIGS in terms of
product performance and lifetime..