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Printed Electronics World
Posted on August 27, 2010 by  & 

New world record with efficient CIGS solar cell

Dyesol and SolarPrint Ltd are working on DSSC photovoltaics, while Riso National Laboratory, Total, Konarka, Panasonic Electric Works, the University of Alberta and others are progressing the organic option. National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL, has an interest in all forms of printed and thin film photovoltaics.
As yet, some Dye Sensitised Solar Cells DSSC that are in production have efficiencies that are no better than the archetypal organic solar cells from Konarka Technologies, Inc. which are superior in other respects and now seen on solar bags, pool parasols and other products in the marketplace.
However, in the laboratory DSSC often has higher efficiency than organic cells, so the challenge is both to improve on that figure and make such a process scalable. There will be room in the market for both technologies because they have a different tradeoff of cost and performance.
With an efficiency of 20.1 percent, scientists at the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie-und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, Germany (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, ZSW) have achieved a new success in striving to increase the electricity yield of solar cells.
The Stuttgart researchers produced thin-film solar cells with a top efficiency of 20.3 percent. With this performance, they exceed their own world record - and minimize to only 0.1 percent the advance of the multi-crystalline solarcells still dominating the market.
The new record-breaking solar cells from ZSW are made of extremely thin layers of copper, indium, gallium and diselenide (CIGS for short). This saves materials and costs. The new results should significantly improve the cost-effectiveness of CIGS thin-film photovoltaics over the medium term.
Meanwhile, IBM and Ascent Solar see merit in various copper based inorganic compound photovoltaic options. In the case of Ascent Solar, it is an alternative approach to CIGS that is nearer to production.
Image: Test strip with 15 CIS solar cells by ZSW an the record breaking cell in the middle
Source: ZSW
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