First CIGS solar cells from the CIGS facility of Solliance show 13.85% efficiency

(PresseBox) (Leuven, ) At the new Cu-In-Ga-Se (CIGS) facility of the Solliance collaboration platform in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, first CIGS solar cells with 13.85% efficiency have been fabricated. This encouraging result is the starting point for further improvements of the cells efficiency, large-area uniformity and run-to-run variability. The facility will also be used for advancing the alternative thin-film (TF) PV activities of Solliance.

In September 2012, the last tool of the CIGS solar base-line facility was installed and accepted at Solliance partner TNO in Eindhoven. In this CIGS facility, a reference flow was developed resulting in the first CIGS TF-PV cells fully made with the facility's equipment. The highest efficiency obtained by the first full run was 13.85% (see figure). This is similar to industrial CIGS modules with an efficiency of 13-14%, but still below the laboratory record efficiency of 20.3% on a CIGS solar cell recently reported by ZSW (Stuttgart). Based on this encouraging result, further improvements of the CIGS cell efficiencies are expected in the next months through an intensified collaboration of TNO and imec in this CIGS facility.

The main focus of the facility will be to improve the large-area uniformity and to reduce run-to-run variability of the CIGS solar cell manufacturing. The thus obtained stable and reproducible reference process flow will serve as a solid baseline for developing improved cell concepts and for innovating process equipment for individual process steps. The facility has all processing tools for a full CIGS solar cell flow on substrates up to 30x30cm2 and will be used as a pre-pilotline for testing cell and process equipment concepts.

This CIGS facility of Solliance will also be used for the alternative TF-PV activities of Solliance, aiming to improve the solar cell efficiency of the new and emerging CZTS absorber TF-PV materials. This new absorber is expected to solve the availability problem of the In and Ga material of the CIGS absorber when these are used in large volume manufacturing. The new CZTS absorber material consists of only abundant elements like Cu, Zn, Sn, Se and S (read the June 2012 newsletter article ).

The imec thin-film solar cell activities, focusing on CZTS and organic PV, are integrated in the Solliance collaboration platform. Solliance's ambition is to strengthen the position of the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle (ELAT region) as a world player in thin film PV. Solliance aims to realize this ambition by joint use of state-of-the-art infrastructure, alignment of research programs, and close cooperation with the solar TF-PV business community.

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