Manz claims 16% CIGS module record

Manz has built on the research efforts of its technology partner, the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), to achieve a 16% efficient CIGS module. The new world record for the technology goes some distance in demonstrating the potential of CIGS, with ZSW having achieved 21.7% CIGS cells last year and Manz now transferring some of that technology to full-sized modules.

The 16% Manz CIGS modules were produced on its innovation line, located in Schwäbisch Hall in southwestern Germany. Manz achieved the result using its co-evaporation deposition process.

"With significantly lower production costs compared to crystalline solar cells, CIGS technology will play a large role in the coming investment cycle of the photovoltaics industry," said the company’s founder and CEO Dieter Manz.

Manz is still looking to sell one of its CIGSfabs, which can be scaled upwards from 50 MW nameplate production capacity.

"Building on the know-how of ZSW and our own experts, it is thus absolutely realistic that we will already be able to present module efficiencies of significantly higher than 17% in the near future,” said Manz.

Manz has begun marketing its CIGSfab based on ROI calculations it has performed for the facility. The company now claims that its CIGSfab can deliver an ROI of more than 15% when based on a 150 MW nameplate facility in China, producing modules at $0.40/W. The impressive ROI is achieved through these modules then being installed in PV power plants realizing an LCOE of around $0.044/kWh, which is then sold under a 10 to 20 year PPA.

“The 15% IRR is based on selling power to the grid, under a PPA, for example in China,” Manz’s VP for Thin Film Solar, Claus Kuhn, told pv magazine. “About 40% to 50% of the LCOE to generate the power is the cost of the module itself.”

Looking at the efficiency gains being made, post treatments developed by ZSW on tiny CIGS cells and then transferred to full-sized modules on the Manz innovation line were key.

“The nice thing about these processes is that you don’t have to change the CIGS process, you can implement it in the existing equipment,” Kuhn added. "So as we speak we are already in the process of implementing the changes to the hardware on our innovation line in Schwäbisch Hall to allow for these kind of post treatments."

The 16% efficiency record was certified last week by TÜV Rheinland.

The April edition of pv magazine, currently being distributed at SNEC in both English and Mandarin versions includes a feature setting out the Manz ROI claim in more detail.