Solar Frontier breaks CZTS cell efficiency record

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Solar Frontier announced on Tuesday that it had set a new conversion efficiency record for CZTS solar cells measuring 0.42 square centimeter at 12.6%.

The Japanese CIS thin film solar module manufacturer achieved the result in a laboratory test cell measuring 0.42 square centimeter in joint research with IBM and Tokyo Ohka Kogyo (TOK). According to independent verification by Newport Corporation, the efficiency reached is nevertheless a world record that surpasses the previous record of 11.1% (likewise achieved by Solar Frontier and its research partners).

"Breaking our previous record at such a fast pace shows the potential of CZTS for mass production in the future, and we are now in a position to drive that efficiency even higher," said Satoru Kuriyagawa, Solar Fronier’s chief technology officer.

The company noted that the key materials in CZTS solar cells – copper, zinc, tin, sulphur and selenium — are inexpensive and in abundant supply, providing a cost-competitive advantage over other photovoltaic technologies.

A globally leading CIS thin film module producer, Solar Frontier has also achieved standing world record conversion efficiencies of 17.8% on a 30 cm by 30 cm CIS submodule and 19.7% for non-cadmium CIS cell at its Atsugi Research Center in Kanagawa, Japan.

The company has boasted strong performance by its modules, especially in hot climates, and has reported increasing demand for its product.

In August, it published six-month output data from its 10.5 MW solar car park installation at the at the Saudi Aramco Al-Midra Tower facility in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, showing that it exceeded predicted output and describing the project as a "milestone."

In July, the company restarted a 60 MW annual capacity production plant in Miyazaki, Japan, in view of increasing demand for its modules. The plant had been temporarily suspended since the end of 2012 after streamlining all of its production at its new state-of-the-art Kunitomi plant.

More recently, Solar Frontier has been testing solar installations on greenhouses located on Farmland in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture.