14.11.2016

Speeding up CIGS solar cell manufacture

The funding will go towards optimising a co-evaporation process at PVcomB used for producing CIGS layers for thin-film solar cells. Photo: HZB

The CIGS thin film photovoltaics can be integrated pleasingly into building architectures. Photo: Manz AG

Speeding up CIGS solar cell manufacture

A project consortium from research and industry involving the Competence Centre for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB) of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin has been granted a major third-party-funded project by the Federal Ministry of Economics. The project “speedCIGS” is to be funded with 4.7 million euros over four years, of which 1.7 million goes to HZB. The project partners will use this money to accelerate the manufacturing process for CIGS thin-film solar cells and thus make the technology more attractive to industry.

The speedCIGS project is being carried in cooperation with systems builder Manz AG, the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), the Universities of Jena and Paderborn, the Max Planck Institute Dresden and the Wilhelm Büchner Hochschule (as project coordinator).

The acquired funding will go towards optimising a co-evaporation process at PVcomB used for producing CIGS layers for thin-film solar cells. CIGS solar cells get their name from their constituent elements Copper, Indium, Gallium and Selenium. The elements are deposited together in a vacuum onto a heated substrate to form a thin layer of the desired compound. The manufacturing process used at PVcomB is already being used industrially, but is still relatively slow. The process is now to be sped up within the speedCIGS project, so that more modules can be produced per unit time for the same investment costs. This would make the production of CIGS solar modules much cheaper, giving the technology a competitive advantage in the currently tense market situation.

Also to be developed at PVcomB is a transparent p-conducting material that will go a long way towards developing high-efficiency tandem solar cells based on CIGS.

Polycrystalline CIGS solar cells already stand out for their high efficiency and high energy yields. Another advantage is the aesthetic appearance of the modules, which integrate pleasingly into building architectures.

(sz/il)