While c-Si cell efficiencies steal headlines, CIGS developers are continuing to introduce new concepts onto the market. In the latest development Flisom will ramp a 15 MW flexible CIGS line, in the Zurich area.
Flisom raised the funds, for what will be a commercial application of an R&D line, from an unnamed Swiss investor and from Indian industrial giant Tata. Flisom itself is a spin off from the Laboratory of Solid State Physics of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich).
The startup CIGS developer is now based at the Empa campus, which is the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology. In todays announcement Flisom has also highlighted a collaborative agreement it has signed with EMPA to further develop the flexible CIGS technology. As a part of the deal, Empas thin film laboratory head Ayodhya N. Tiwari will work with Flisom on a part time basis.
Empa itself has been a leader in flexible CIGS technology, having announced a conversion efficiency of 20.4%, for a flexible CIGS cell in January of this year. Empa has confirmed with pv magazine that, unlike the photo provided by the laboratory, the cell in question was a micro cell – roughly half a square centimeter is size. Empa first efficiency record for a flexible CIGS cell was 12.8% in 1999.
In a statement announcing the Flisom funding round, K.R.S. Jamwal, Executive Director, Tata Industries said: "We admire the team and technology, based on a record setting efficiency of over 20% for CIGS from Empa, which we hope will be scaled up successfully. The funding will enable Flisom to purchase equipment and hire more experts to convert an innovative Swiss technology into an industrial reality."
Flisom CEO Marc Kaelin added that the fab will allow for the application of laboratory processes into production. "The 15MW plant will serve as a blueprint towards the establishment of larger-scale plants to manufacture flexible solar modules at low cost."