Perovskite + CIGS Tandem Thin-Film Solar Module Achieves 17.8% Efficiency, New Record

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A new perovskite + CIGS tandem thin-film solar module — presented by researchers from KIT, ZSW, and the Belgian research institute imec at the recent PSCO international conference in Genova — has achieved a record solar conversion efficiency (for the type) — 17.8%.

perovskite-cigs-efficiency-recordThis marks the first time that a perovskite + CIGS tandem module has achieved a higher conversion efficiency than achieved by separate CIGS and perovskite solar modules.

“Our prototype demonstrates that scalable perovskite/CIGS solar modules can drastically surpass the efficiency of a separate solar module made of these materials,” commented Dr Ulrich W Paetzold of KIT.

As an explanation of the value of the tandem approach, the semi-transparent upper perovskite portion of the tandem solar module works to capture most effectively the higher-energy parts of the solar spectrum, while the lower CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) portion captures the infrared parts and others. Together they capture and convert more of the spectrum than either can on its own.

To further illustrate that point, the current world record for perovskite module solar conversion efficiency (at this scale) is 15.3%, and the CIGS solar module conversion efficiency record is 15.7%.

The press release provides a few more details: “Besides, the stacked module implements a fully scalable device concept that matches industrial needs. Both, the perovskite top module and the CIGS bottom module feature an aperture area of 3.67 square centimeter and a monolithic interconnection scheme, using 4 and 7 module cell stripes respectively. The area losses are less than 8% for both technologies and the interconnection can be laser-processed, allowing industrial scaling to stacked modules of several square meters.”

Previously, this perovksite/CIGS tandem approach was only explored through small-scale solar cells, rather than through full-size modules.

Photo via imec/ZSW/KIT

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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