Flexible CIGS thin-film PV establishes module manufacturing base, moves closer to BIPV market readin


By Mark McIntyre, Business Development Manager, Global Solar Energy

Despite the low-cost, high-efficiency, radical form factor promise of many thin-film photovoltaic technologies, scaling these materials to large-volume production has presented a wide array of challenges. Because of the recent polysilicon shortage, an incredible amount of resources have been focused on this goal and many thin-film alternatives are now available. One of the most intriguing of these materials, copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), has great potential to reset the thin-film market and make new applications cost effective and viable. CIGS technology is differentiated from competing PV materials by a combination of factors. The manufacturing cost of thin-film cells can be very inexpensive since they require few raw materials and can be made with an efficient, scalable roll-to-roll process. CIGS has been established as the most efficient thin-film technology in converting sunlight into electricity. A flexible substrate will ultimately enable energy and building-integrated applications beyond the capability of rigid, heavier PV products.

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The fourth edition of Photovoltaics International was published in May 2009. It features an exclusive interview with First Solar’s Bruce Sohn on manufacturing and the future. SunPower also outlines the economic benefits of LCOE drivers in Power Generation and Fraunhofer IPA gives an overview of automation in the photovoltaic industry.

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