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ZSW thin-film solar cell reaches 20.1% efficiency

Thin-film solar cells have reached an efficiency of 20.1% at the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, ZSW) in Germany.

The copper indium gallium and selenide (CIGS) solar thin-film cell was produced in the ZSW research laboratory in Stuttgart.

"This record is for thin-film technology in general and not just CIGS solar cells," says Dr. Michael Powalla, Member of the Board and Head of the Photovoltaics Division at ZSW.

The area of the thin-film solar cell is 0.5 cm2 and was produced in a CIGS laboratory coating plant using a modified co-evaporation process, which in principle can be scaled up to a commercial production process.

The thin-film solar cell consists of the semiconducting CIGS layer and contact layers. It has a total thickness of 4 µm.

Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany has confirmed the new results.

Commercially available CIGS thin-film solar modules currently range from 10% to 12% efficiency.

ZSW believes efficiency levels of up to 15% can be achieved in commercial modules within few years.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity