A new record has been set for thin film cells at 16.36%. California based company; XsunX, has achieved this record using copper-Indium-Gallium-(di)selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic cells, and has been confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Thin film cells have tended to be around half the efficiency level of silicon, but as the efficiency climbs, the value proposition changes and they become a more attractive option.
Therefore, this news is sure to provide a welcome boost to the thin film marketplace, which until now has produced efficiency levels much lower than their crystalline and silicon counterparts. By breaking the 16 percent mark, CIGS technology is now truly closing the gap.
The patent pending system and processing technology, which XsunX calls CIGSolar, focuses on the mass production of individual thin film CIGS solar cells that match silicon solar cell dimensions, but are marketed as a non-toxic, high-efficiency and cheaper alternative to the use of silicon solar cells.
The technology utilizes co-evaporation for rapid deposition of final-sized cells to control the complex management of the CIGS layer deposition process. XsunX begins and ends the construction process using individual substrates sized to match silicon cells.
As well as providing for a smaller and more accurate deposition environment, this also helps to avoid performance losses experienced when cells are either cut from rolls of CIGS material or mismatched electrically in monolithic assemblies.
Of the four samples taken by the NREL, the overall average was 15.91 percent efficiency.