Researchers announce new 20.3 percent world record CIGS solar cell efficiency

The Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg has confirmed the results. However, it has been said that it will take a while before the increased efficiency can be commercially utilized.

The area of the world record cell is 0.5 square centimeters, say the scientists, while the semiconducting CIGS layer and the contact layers have a total thickness of just four thousandths of a millimeter, making them 50 times thinner than standard silicon cells. "Our researchers have made the cells in a CIGS laboratory coating plant using a modified co-evaporation process, which in principle can be scaled up to commercial production processes," says Dr. Michael Powalla, Member of the Board and Head of the Photovoltaics Division at ZSW.

They go on to say that in the future, the efficiency of the relatively low-priced CIGS thin film solar modules will rise from around 11 percent to approximately 15 percent. Higher efficiencies improve the electrical power output, they continue, and thus the financial returns delivered by PV systems. Experts assume that the CIGS thin film technology is facing a great commercial future – compared to 2008, in 2012 the market share of thin film power plants is expected to double, reaching around 30 percent, conclude the scientists.