European consortium targets 25% CIGS solar cell efficiency


New research into bifacial, ultra-thin, semi-transparent and tandem CIGS solar cells is the focus of a €5.9 million million Horizon Europe project involving a consortium of 14 European companies and research groups.

The power conversion efficiency target is 25% in commercial production, which would take CIGS a step beyond the record efficiency for CIGS research cells, which is 23.6%, held by Evolar, a Swedish company that was recently acquired by First Solar.

The project prototypes aim to showcase higher CIGS efficiency, scale up from lab-sized bifacial devices to mini-modules, reduce raw material consumption, establish shorter manufacturing processes, and enhance module technologies.

The “High efficiency bifacial thin film chalcogenide solar cells” (Hi-BITS) initiative is a collaboration of eight research institutes and universities, plus six companies. The research institutes include International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), Sweden’s Uppsala University, Germany’s Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung (ZSW) and Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. Other participants include France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique and Institut Photovoltaïque d'Ile-de-France (IPVF),  the University of Luxembourg, and Spain’s Catalonia Institue for Energy Research (IREC).

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The group of six companies includes Avancis, based in Germany, which recently achieved a power conversion efficiency of 20.3% in a completely encapsulated CIGS module with an integrated series connection measuring 30 cm × 30 cm, and Midsummer, based in Sweden, which is currently operating a CIGS module factory in southern Italy. Other members are Sunplugged, based in Austria, along with French building materials supplier Saint-Gobain, Berlin-based GreenDelta GmbH and Poland’s Roltec, which is a module manufacturer.

pv magazine print edition

The November edition of pv magazine is dominated by the issue of global oversupply and examines the effects of a solar glut in the European Union, the United States, and other markets. We turn the spotlight on PV developments in South Korea, Taiwan, and Africa and update readers on technological progress in thin films, kerfless wafering, and mass produced heterojunction PV.

“We will develop prototype modules for the listed application cases,” Sascha Sadewasser, principal investigator for the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, told pv magazine. “[The] core work is on bifacial aspects and how to exploit them in highly relevant applications”.

Other aspects of the project include life cycle analysis and costing, as well as establishing practices in line with circular economy concepts.

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