Tokyo, Japan--In joint research with Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki, Japan), Solar Frontier achieved record-breaking energy conversion efficiency of 19.7% (exceeding its previous 17.8% record) for cadmium-free, thin-film copper-indium-gallium-selenide or CIS-based solar cells measuring approx. 0.5 square centimeters, as measured by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Solar Frontier says it has been ten years since the previous CIS thin-film solar efficiency record of 18.6% was surpassed.
This world record was achieved using cells cut from a 30 cm x 30 cm substrate, rather than specifically-developed small area cells, demonstrating high potential for further increases. Moreover, the formation method used by Solar Frontier to achieve the result is the same method it uses for thin-film solar cell mass production, a process of sputtering followed by selenization. Solar Frontier has chosen this method over co-evaporation due to greater efficiencies in mass production.
"This new achievement in energy conversion efficiency indicates the high level of Solar Frontier's technology and the high potential of CIS technology," said Satoru Kuriyagawa, CTO, Solar Frontier. "The CIS thin-film modules currently available from Solar Frontier have gained a reputation for high performance in actual power generation, as they are not easily affected by shadows or high temperatures. Now, even higher real-world performance can be expected by applying this new basic technology. We will continue working to further enhance our technological capabilities with the aim of setting a world record for thin-film solar cells overall."
Solar Frontier's CIS modules are manufactured at the company's Kunitomi Plant, which has steadily increased production efficiency since the plant started commercial production in February 2011. Currently, the CIS thin-film solar modules produced at Kunitomi have a conversion efficiency that exceeds 13%, and the amount of electricity generated (kWh) per installed capacity (kW) exceeds that of other solar modules. Showa Shell Sekiyu and Solar Frontier intend to contribute even further to the expansion of Japan's energy industry and local production and consumption using environmentally-friendly CIS thin-film solar modules made in Japan.
Solar Frontier K.K. is a 100% subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. and operates gigawatt-scale production facilities in Miyazaki, Japan.
SOURCE: Solar Frontier; www.solar-frontier.com