Solar Frontier Achieves 19.7% CIGS Solar Cell Efficiency, Breaks 10-Year Record

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Solar Frontier has developed solar cells that achieve 19.7% efficiency using CIGS technology, and without the use of cadmium.

This new cell finally broke a previous record of 18.6%, which stood for 10 years. The 19.7% efficiency was measured by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

This efficiency improvement was done through collaboration with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

Efficiency improvements help make solar panels smaller (for the same output), which has both practical, convenience, and sometimes cost benefits, such as a reduction of installation cost.

CIGS is the acronym for Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenium — the components of the technology. Solar Frontier refers to its CIGS cells as CIS — however, they do contain gallium, so they are technically CIGS.

CIGS solar cells are thin-film and it may be possible for them to be deposited onto a substrate, rather than sawed from a solid material as silicon wafer cells are. However, this has been a challenge. Notably, CIGS solar panels can also be flexible, opening them up to a variety of useful applications.

“The CIS thin-film modules currently available from Solar Frontier have gained a reputation for high performance in actual power generation, as they are not easily affected by shadows or high temperatures,” said Satoru Kuriyagawa in a statement announcing the result. “Now, even higher real-world performance can be expected by applying this new basic technology.”

Solar Frontier is a Japanese solar cell manufacturer, and is currently manufacturing 900 MW of 13%-efficient solar cells annually.

Hopefully, it can mass produce these 19.7% efficient modules, because the world could certainly benefit from solar panels that are twice as powerful.

Source: PV Magazine

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Nicholas Brown

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