TSMC hits 15% module efficiency


In less than 12 months, TSMC has been able to achieve almost a 1% increase in its module efficiencies, at its fab in Taichung, Taiwan. Its announcement of 15.1% monolithic module efficiency trumps more established thin film manufacturers’ efficiencies.

The gains made by TSMC in a relatively short stretch of time is most impressive, considering the slow-but-steady efficiency gains made by manufacturers with a longer history with CIGS. The world’s biggest CIGS manufacturer Japan’s Solar Frontier, reported to pv magazine in December 2012 that it is producing modules with an efficiency of 13%, and an aperture efficiency of over 14%.

Meanwhile, CIGS equipment supplier Manz, which operates the former Würth Solar manufacturing facility as an innovation line reported module efficiencies of 14.6% in September 2012, with an aperture efficiency of 15.9%. And Hanergy owned MiaSolé has achieved a 15.5% aperture efficiency on a flex module, however it is worth noting that MiaSolé deposits it CIGS "stack" onto stainless steel that is then cut into cells, which differs from a monolithic deposition process, as achieved by TSMC Solar.

TSMC uses CIGS technology licensed from U.S. manufacturer Stion. When pv magazine visited Stion in July 2012, it reported modules rolling of its Mississippi fab at a rough average efficiency of 12.5% and a champion module of 13.4%. Stion is developing a hetrojunction – tandem – CIGS cell, which it hopes will deliver vast efficiency improvements on top of this. In December, Stion reported to pv magazine that it has achieved 18.8% tandem cell efficiencies.

"Our champion modules now have comparable module efficiency to mainstream multi-crystalline silicon modules, demonstrating TSMC Solar’s ability to realize the high-efficiency potential of our CIGS technology," said Ying-Chen Chao, President of TSMC Solar, in a statement announcing the efficiency achievement.

"Our technology’s superior competitiveness comes from its high efficiency, excellent high temperature performance and intrinsic cost structure advantages," he added.

TSMC’s fab is tooled for 100 MW of production, however pv magazine understands that it is operating at only a fraction of that, holding off on plans to ramp until market conditions improve.

TSMC Solar is a fully owned subsidiary of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, which has a market capitalization of around $90 billion.

Popular content

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.