Eindhoven / Torgau - December 6th, 2019

Thin-film photovoltaic CIGS technology has seen considerable growth of manufacturing capacity in recent years. The environmental impact, especially the CO2 footprint of CIGS thin-film panels shows great advantages compared to other solar technologies. CIGS panels show good performance in diffuse light conditions and at high temperatures, and are tolerant to partial shading. Additionally, the aesthetic qualities and the possibility of custom colors makes CIGS a superior PV technology for the application in building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), e.g. in solar façades.

Research and industry combine efforts for further cost reduction of CIGS thin-film processing at high efficiency levels

European SUCCESS for global application success

The fabrication process of the CIGS semiconductor layer is the key driver for both, the further increase of efficiency, and the reduction of manufacturing cost of CIGS solar modules. Based on the European energy research program SOLAR-ERA.NET, the equipment manufacturer Smit Thermal Solutions and solar company AVANCIS started a European collaboration with the leading research institutes Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), CNRS (Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel, Nantes) and TNO/Solliance with the new project ‘Sequential, High Uniformity, Cost Competitive Elemental Selenization and Sulfurization for CIGSSe2’, called SUCCESS. The aim of SUCCESS is the combination of a further cost-optimized CIGS processing and the high efficiencies reached with heavy alkali post-deposition treatment (PDT). An efficiency of more than 20% is finally targeted for 30x30cm2 AVANCIS’ modules.

European SUCCESS for global application success

The fabrication process of the CIGS semiconductor layer is the key driver for both, the further increase of efficiency, and the reduction of manufacturing cost of CIGS solar modules. Based on the European energy research program SOLAR-ERA.NET, the equipment manufacturer Smit Thermal Solutions and solar company AVANCIS started a European collaboration with the leading research institutes Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), CNRS (Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel, Nantes) and TNO/Solliance with the new project ‘Sequential, High Uniformity, Cost Competitive Elemental Selenization and Sulfurization for CIGSSe2’, called SUCCESS. The aim of SUCCESS is the combination of a further cost-optimized CIGS processing and the high efficiencies reached with heavy alkali post-deposition treatment (PDT). An efficiency of more than 20% is finally targeted for 30x30cm2 AVANCIS’ modules.

‘Reaching the efficiency goal of more than 20% for a 30x30cm2 module, SUCCESS is set to pave the way for a further reduction of the total cost of electricity generated by the CIGS technology in any application from green field to building integrated PV’, says Dr. Jörg Palm, CTO of AVANCIS.

A cost-optimized CIGS selenization process

The non-vacuum Smit Thermal Solutions in-line selenization equipment provides a high degree of freedom in the CIGS semiconductor fabrication enabling further cost reduction at high efficiency levels. Using Smit Thermal Solutions pilot equipment, notable efficiencies have already been reached by TNO/Solliance and HZB at cell level. As first steps in scaling-up, the homogeneity of the selenization process in the Smit Thermal Solutions equipment will be improved and it will be adapted for the 30x30cm2 AVANCIS R&D platform.

Research on heavy alkali doping

During the last three years, the conversion efficiency of CIGS record cells has been increased from 20.5% to 23.35% by using controlled PDT of the absorber layer with heavy alkali metals. Typically, these records are achieved with small cells measuring 1x1cm². The consortium aims to systematically investigate the impact of the heavy alkali doping in the absorber formation process as well as by PDT of the absorber and to ultimately apply this technology to large-area module production processes with a Cd-free buffer process.

 

For further information:
AVANCIS GmbH
Susanne Häckel
D-81739 München
Susanne.haeckel[at]avancis[dot]de
+49 89 21 96 20-511

About AVANCIS

AVANCIS GmbH develops and manufactures German premium thin-film PV modules based on copper indium gallium-diselenide compound (CIGS modules). The innovative process and its implementation in the production are both being developed in its own R&D centers and production facilities in Germany (Munich and Torgau). AVANCIS’ technology goes back to its pioneering work in the 80s at Arco Solar, evolving in predecessor companies of AVANCIS to its current thin-film technology. As pioneers in CIS photovoltaics, AVANCIS is continuously working on improving the CIS technology, holding multiple world efficiency records e.g. a new R&D champion module of 19.0% efficiency with a sputtered Cd-free buffer process. Since 2014, AVANCIS is part of the CNBM Group. www.avancis.de.

 

About SUCCESS

SUCCESS is a project under the SOLAR ERA.NET Cofund 2 by PTJ (Germany), RVO (Netherlands) and ANR (France). SOLAR ERA.NET is supported by the European Commission within the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation HORIZON 2020 (Cofund ERA-NET Action No 786483).

 

About Solliance

Solliance is a partnership of R&D organizations from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany working in thin-film photovoltaic solar energy. In order to strengthen the region’s position as a world player in PV, Solliance is creating the required synergy by consolidating and coordinating the activities of 250 researchers in industry, at research institutes and universities. Various state-of-the-art laboratories and pilot production lines are jointly used for dedicated research programs which are executed in close cooperation with the solar business community. Solliance partners are: imec, TNO, TU/e, Forschungszentrum Jülich, University Hasselt and Delft University of Technology. Solliance offers participation in its research programs and opens up its lab facilities to new entrants, either from industry or in research. On the basis of clear Intellectual Property (IP) agreements, each industrial partner can participate in this research effort, or alternatively, hire equipment and experts to further develop its own technology. www.solliance.eu

Contact Solliance

TNO / Solliance Solar Research
Hans Linden – Program Manager
High Tech Campus 21
NL-5656AE Eindhoven
hans.linden@solliance.eu

 

About Smit Thermal Solutions

Located in Eindhoven, the technology capital of the Netherlands, SMIT Thermal Solutions is a leading supplier of customizable thermal equipment and processes for the photovoltaics’, printed electronics and battery industries. SMIT’s core competences are not limited to thermal treatment, but include deposition processes using thermal evaporation, (PE)CVD and ALD for both rigid and flexible substrates. It employs around 75 people and currently has more than 3000 installations operating worldwide, including some 150 in the solar- and battery industry. www.smitthermalsolutions.com

Contact Smit Thermal Solutions

Smit Thermal Solutions BV
Michael van der Gugten
Luchthavenweg 10
NL-5657 EB Eindhoven
m.v.d.gugten@smit-ts.nl
+31 643086923

 

About Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH (HZB)

At the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), we conduct research on complex material systems that help to accelerate the energy transition. The HZB research portfolio includes solar cells, solar fuels, thermos-electrics and materials for new energy-efficient information technologies (spintronics). Thin films are the primary approach. The research on these energy materials is closely linked to the operation and further development of the photon source BESSY II. 1150 employees work at HZB. www.helmholtz-berlin.de

Contact Helmholtz-Zentrum

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH
Dr. Pablo Itzam Reyes Figueroa
Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1
D-14109 Berlin
pablo.reyes_figueroa@helmholtz-berlin.de
+49 30 8062 15566


About Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS),

represented by the Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN-UMR6502), in Nantes.

IMN is a joint research unit of the CNRS and the Université de Nantes. IMN gathers more than 200 people whose research activity is devoted to Materials Science, from fundamental studies to applied works. The fields of targeted applications include microelectronics, metallurgy, photovoltaic conversion and electrochemical storage.

Further information can be found on www.cnrs-imn.fr

Contact Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN, Nantes)
Dr. Hab. Nicolas BARREAU
2 rue de la Houssinière
F-44300 Nantes
nicolas.barreau@univ-nantes.fr
+33 2 51 12 55 26