Solar energy from highly active thin layers

 

One of the key challenges we face today is to use renewable energy sustainably. Compared to other PV technologies, CIGS technology offers enormous application and yield potential.

CIS, or CIGS, stands for the constituents copper (Cu), indium (In), gallium (Ga) and selenium (Se). The main feature of CIS technology is its wafer-thin 2µm semiconductor layer. Due to its spectral response, this is all it takes to capture the sunlight very efficiently and convert it into sustainable electrical power. By comparison, the semiconductor layer of crystalline silicon solar cells are one hundred times thicker than those of CIS solar cells. Valuable resources are also saved in the manufacture of solar cells, as CIGS technology requires much lower energy consumption than other PV technologies.

The most efficient of all thin-film solar technologies

Studies by the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA) and the ZSW (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff) show that CIS is the most efficient of all thin-film technologies. It has already attained efficiency levels of over 22%, comparable to the efficiency of multi-crystalline silicon cells.

CIS/CIGS has a higher efficiency level than alternative procedures, such as those based on amorphous silicon (a-Si). As the most efficient thin-film technology (Wp/m²), it maximises the installed capacity on the space available to you. The energy yield (kWh/kWp) of our PowerMax® modules is one of the highest of all photovoltaic systems.

High performance: even in bad weather

 

A distinctive feature of CIGS modules is their outstanding performance in weak light conditions, and CIS has the widest spectral response of all photovoltaic technologies. In other words, as well as performing extremely well in bright sunlight, CIS modules really come into their own under those cloudy skies, diffused light and with a flat sun position.

 

 


CIS technology from Avancis. Top quality and management, "Made in Germany".

A major advantage of the manufacturing process for CIS technology is the low number of production steps and the significantly lower cost of materials and energy use. A single, end-to-end inline production process considerably reduces complexity compared to crystalline silicon solar cells: From the delivery of the substrate to the packaging of the module, AVANCIS takes less than 20 steps. This integrated process is built on the many years of international experience in research and development work on factory processes.

The modules are simply specially made glass panels, onto which the CIS coating of copper, indium, gallium, selenium and sulphur is applied in a two-stage process. The patented process allows optimum dosing of the raw materials, and a uniform and therefore more high-performance semiconductor layer. The chemical reaction and material formation takes place at much lower temperatures than for the manufacture of crystalline silicon solar cells.

After the production of the electrically conductive solar cell layers on the substrate, the substrate glass is laminated with a tempered glass front panel. Elaborate quality management and sophisticated production procedures result in durable, high-performing solar modules, which on our latitude balance out the energy usage for your manufacturing after just one year on average.

We have been carrying out successful, pioneering research into CIS technology since 1981. We were the first to start series production of CIS modules in Camarillo, California, and have since then broken numerous world records for efficiency. We hold many patents and have received countless awards for innovation. These successes are what lies behind our claim to be the "avant-garde of photovoltaics", a claim which is based not only on maintaining our technological leadership, but also on providing our customers with a sophisticated, premium-quality and extremely cost-effective product – a photovoltaic system that is highly impressive in terms of both performance and design.


Performance records of our solar modules: success that we can be proud of.

As a pioneer in CIS photovoltaics, we are working continuously on improving CIS technology. With our own pilot line, motivated research department and commitment to being the best, we are developing the next generation of extremely high-performance solar modules in our laboratory. It is vitally important to us that these modules perform outstandingly not just in the lab, but also in practice.

With the efficiency of 17.9% of its latest champion module, AVANCIS reaches the current efficiency world record for encapsulated CIGS thin-film modules. This record value was achieved with a Cd-free encapsulated module showing an aperture area of 622 cm2 and it has been certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

Photovoltaic efficiency record of 16.6% aperture efficiency on a 30 x 30 cm² CIS solar module from AVANCIS, confirmed externally by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA).

Performance record: A 30 x 30 cm² CIS module from AVANCIS achieves an aperture efficiency of 15.8%; externally confirmed by TÜV Rhineland.


Performance record: A 30 x 30 cm² CIS module from AVANCIS achieves an aperture efficiency of 15.5%; externally confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA).

Photovoltaic efficiency record of 15.1% aperture efficiency on a 30 x 30 cm² CIS solar module from AVANCIS, confirmed externally by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA).

Record efficiency level of 13.5% for a 300 x 300 mm² CIS solar module from AVANCIS.

Record efficiency level of 13.1% for a 60 x 90 cm² CIS solar module from AVANCIS – measured externally and confirmed by the German certification body TÜV Rheinland, Cologne.