Q-Cells achieves "world record" thin film efficiency

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According to the German company, the new Copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) world record was measured on its Q-Cells Q.SMART UF solar module, which is manufactured by subsidiary Solibro GmbH.

The efficiency, recorded in February by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany, reportedly confirmed a power output of 100.3 Watt peak (Wp) under standard test conditions.

In a statement, the company said: "The Q-Cells Q.SMART UF solar module, with an area of 0,75 m², reaches a total area efficiency of 13.4 percent. Moreover, with an aperture area of 0,684 m², the module’s aperture area efficiency is 14.7 percent."

Last June, the company achieved the previous efficiency world record of 13 percent with the same type of CIGS solar module out of series production.

Positive 2010

In other news, Q-Cells has confirmed that it grew its 2010 fiscal sales by 70 percent to reach €1.35 billion. Profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) was €82.3 million, while net income (from continuing operations) was €90.9 million for the full year 2010. Including discontinued operations, the full year net income was €18.9 million. Furthermore, the company generated more than 50 percent of its sales from customers outside Germany.

In parallel with an expansion of its product portfolio, it also increased its production capacity for solar cells and CIGS thin film modules from 830 megawatts peak (MWp) to 1,235 MWp as of the end of 2010. It says that this module production should be expanded even further in 2011, mostly in partnership with selected international processing partners.

The company is also building an in-house production line in Thalheim for its high-efficiency premium product Q.PEAK. It adds that it intends to "transition its entire production capacities for solar cells during the course of 2011 completely to the so-called ‘next generation’ technology". This will be introduced at the industry fair Intersolar in June.

"Our financial results show that our new strategic realignment in 2010 has begun successfully. With the creation of new business segments and the development of international markets, we have taken initial steps to position the company well for the challenges that are ahead of us," comments Nedim Cen, chairman of Q-Cells SE.

"The photovoltaic market will be significantly more demanding this year. We will continue to implement our strategy rigorously so that we remain able to offer competitive products and innovative solutions in the medium term also in a more difficult market environment."

The company adds that the following are priorities for 2011: "continued rigorous focus on the strategic realignment; further strengthening and internationalization of sales; continuous innovation through new products and high quality applications; further process optimization and ongoing cost reductions".

It says that it seeks to generate sales of around the level achieved in the previous year. Meanwhile, it is planning for increasing volumes in the production of solar cells and CIGS thin film modules. The statement continued: "The portion of crystalline modules as a percentage of the total quantity sold, about 17 percent in 2010, should be increased significantly in 2011. However, the positive effects resulting from this increase will be reduced by expected declines in selling prices."

In terms of this year, Q-Cells comments: "From today’s perspective, what is clear is that the first quarter of 2011 has been characterized by very weak demand as a result of the regulatory situation and seasonal influences."

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