Chinese-German enterprise Nice Solar Energy has set a new world record for CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-selenide) module efficiency at 17.6%. The record setting module measured 120x60cm for a total area of 0.72m².
Nice was founded in 2017 as a joint venture by Chinese state-owned coal miner and energy company China Energy Investment Corporation Limited, coal power business Shanghai Electric Group and German production equipment manufacturer Manz AG.
The new device edges out the record claimed last year by the now-insolvent German thin-film manufacturer Solibro, which reached 17.52% on a slightly larger module with an area of 0.94m². Nice’s record has been confirmed by German testing institute TÜV Rheinland.
The module was produced using Manz equipment at Nice’s research site in Schwäbisch Hall, southern Germany. Nice said modifications to the film deposition process and new concepts in cell interconnection were crucial to the performance leap.
“The world record of our R&D partner Nice Solar Energy was made possible by a combination of decades of experience in the development and manufacture of CIGS modules, a process-safe production line with production equipment continuously developed by Manz at the site in Schwäbisch Hall, and last but not least, the outstanding development efforts of the colleagues in Schwäbisch Hall and in Beijing,” said Manz CEO Martin Drasch.
Fellow thin-film manufacturer Miasolé recently set an even higher efficiency, of 18.64%, for a CIGS module using a flexible substrate. Nice pointed out, however, that concerned only the aperture area rather than full-device efficiency and is not comparable because of the different substrate used.
Manz said it is supplying equipment for a 306 MW CIGS module production line in Chongqing, China, with the order arising out of the cooperation between the German production equipment company and its Nice JV partners.