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Solar Frontier's 20.3% CIS cell breaks thin-film PV record

The cell was cut from a 30cm by 30cm substrate and produced using a sputtering-selenisation formation method
Solar Frontier, together with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO), has achieved 20.9 percent conversion efficiency on a 0.5cm2 CIS cell.

This is a world record conversion efficiency for thin-film photovoltaic technologies.

It beats Solar Frontier’s previous world record of 19.7 percent conversion efficiency for CIS thin-film cells that do not contain cadmium, on top of the previous-best 20.8 percent cell efficiency record set for all thin-film PV technologies.

The result has been independently verified by the Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation.

“Solar Frontier’s new 20.9 percent efficiency record resulted from a CIS cell cut from a 30cm by 30cm substrate produced using a sputtering-selenisation formation method - the same method we use in our factories. The significance is twofold: it ensures we can transfer our latest achievement into mass production faster, and it proves the long-term conversion efficiency potential of Solar Frontier’s proprietary CIS technology,” says Satoru Kuriyagawa, Chief Technology Officer of Solar Frontier. “Solar Frontier has entered into the next phase in the development of CIS technology, and we look forward to building on this achievement and driving our efficiency even higher.”

Conversion efficiency is a popular measurement used to compare the performance of solar modules. Actual performance after installation, however, depends on how differing PV technologies react to their surrounding environment and climate.

Solar Frontier’s CIS modules are proven to generate more electricity (kWh/kWp) in real operating conditions than crystalline silicon modules. Together with high automation and precision manufacturing in Japan, CIS modules provide long-term competitive and reliable returns on investments for customers.

The company’s latest efficiency record was achieved at the Atsugi Research Centre (ARC) in Kanagawa, Japan. As part of the ARC’s customer-centric approach, it focuses on boosting the conversion efficiency of its CIS modules, developing its proprietary mass production machinery, and reducing overall system costs for end users. The ARC has been at the forefront of advancing CIS technology, setting numerous world records since it was established in 2009.



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