Clean Power thin solar efficiency record

Published on December 5th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


New Thin-Film Solar Module Efficiency Record Set

December 5th, 2011 by  


thin solar efficiency record

Q.SMART Solar Module image via Q-Cells

Yes, it’s that time again — another solar power efficiency record has been set! The category: thin-film solar module efficiency. The company: Solibro, a subsidiary of the large German solar company Q-Cells SE. The efficiency: 17.4% (of aperture area). The confirming party: the independent Fraunhofer ISE Institute. Where will the technology be used? In “next generation CIGS thin-film technology for Q.SMART modules.”

More details from Q-Cells:

The record test module, with size 16 cm2, was fabricated using processes fully scalable to cost-effective mass production. The co-evaporation CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenid) process uses metal flux profiles, temperature profiles as well as process time similar to Solibro’s current production.

“We are very proud of this result as it demonstrates the leadership of the CIGS technology produced by Q-Cells’ subsidiary Solibro. The current record verifies the feasibility of the efficiency roadmap of the Q.SMART module targeting an average aperture efficiency out of series production of up to 16.7 % in 2016”, said Lars Stolt, CTO of Solibro.

Already in March 2011, a Q.SMART thin-film module, marked a world-record, with an independently confirmed efficiency rating of 14.7% which still is the world-record for monolithically integrated CIGS thin film modules in series production, today.

Q.SMART’s CIGS technology harnesses a “light-soaking” effect unique in the thin-film sector to generate an average of 2.5 percent power boost above nominal power at standard test conditions. Q.SMART also outperforms in diverse environmental conditions, including low-light periods of the day and high-heat climates. Ideal for residential, commercial and utility-scale settings, Q.SMART comes along with a positive sorting; i.e. customers always receive what they pay for – and more. In October 2011 Q-Cells realised a lighthouse project by delivering around 200.000 Q.SMART modules into the world’s largest CIGS solar power plant located in Ammerland, Germany.

The CIGS technology behind Q.SMART was developed in 1983 by the Ångström Solar Center at Uppsala University, Sweden, commercialized by the spin-off company Solibro in 2006, and acquired by Q-Cells in 2009. Q.SMART is produced in Thalheim, Germany, at the company’s own factory with a total nominal production capacity of 135 MWp.

With this world-record Q-Cells has marked the fifth world record in 2011 underpinning the technological leadership of its products. Next to the two world-records in the CIGS sector, a polycrystalline solar module from Q-Cells’ in-house research centre achieved a module efficiency of 18.1% related to the aperture area in July 2011. Recording this efficiency, Q-Cells has beaten its own world record of 17.8%, set in spring 2011. In April 2011, a cell produced on the basis of the Q.ANTUM technology had already set a record for major polycrystalline solar cells, achieving an efficiency of 19.5%.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • BenLongBSME

    it is true we are aiming for future safe fuel, all government should look into it for us to be safe in the future. fossil fuel is a dead fuel and sun / wind fuel source have ben with us for billions of years.
    we hope it will be spread thru-out the world around especially in the third poorest countries like us.

  • Pingback: Silicon Solar Cell Efficiency World Record Set in Analytical Test by Solar3D()

  • muchos huevos

    Glad the rest of the world are helping themselves left and right, with solar panels, wind power, etc.
    Too bad we are not that agressive, here in the USA we appear to be controlled and afraid to try new thechniques, free ourselves from foreing oil forever, but I hope we will eventually will.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, it’s odd, given our history as innovators and explorers.

  • Anumakonda Jagadeesh

    It will be great improvement in the Efficiency of Solar Modules.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  • Anonymous

    Any why is this important?

    Because it gives us more electricity from the same amount of glass, aluminum framing, racking/mounting materials, labor and real estate.

    It used to be the case that panels were so expensive that all the mounting/etc. costs were secondary. Now panels are cheaper than the “balance of the system”. Progress being made lowering mounting and labor costs, but this helps by lowering the number of panels needed for a fixed amount of power.

    • Dcard88

      Aluminum framing? For thin film? What for? We already mfg solar panels at 22+% in frames and in a year or 2, most panels will be over 22%%. This is for windows and roof ‘shingles’

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