Midsummer claims CIGS boost
Swedish solar outfit Midsummer has boosted the efficiency of its thin-film CIGS (copper, indium, gallium, selenium) cell to 16.2% from 15%.
The new in-house record, set on a 156 x 156mm CIGS cell in a regular production run, is a boost to the strategic push by the Stockholm-based company into Europe’s fast-growing building-integrated solar power market.
“The global solar cell market is facing a paradigm shift,” says chief executive Sven Lindström. “Fewer large solar energy parks are being built in Europe. Instead, focus is moving to installations on large buildings in cities.
“The lightweight and flexible thin-film solar cells are ideal for this use. It is economically and environmentally more beneficial to use solar energy locally, where it is produced.”
“Midsummer's objective is that our technology shall be a leader in the market segment for lightweight, flexible solar panels, and that the company shall grow in tandem with this rapidly growing segment.”
Midsummer’s thin-film cells, manufactured individually and then “strung together” into modules using a method much like crystalline PV, is designed to create lightweight flexible modules that can be tailored for “any shape or size”.
The company’s dry, all-vacuum process has less stringent requirements for clean-rooms and avoids high-cost, toxic cadmium.
“Considering that the solar cell is made on stainless steel, contains no cadmium and that the production process is an all-dry, all vacuum process where all layers are deposited by sputtering, this achievement by our engineers is truly impressive,” claimed Lindström
Japan’s Solar Frontier holds the current record for CIGS efficiency with a 19.7% module.