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Midsummer participates in Australian PV research


University of New South Wales project aims to reach 30 percent efficiency in Si/CIGS solar cells

Swedish solar energy company Midsummer has been selected to be part of a research team aiming to reach 30 percent efficiency in Si/CIGS tandem solar cells. The project, which is led by the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, also includes leading solar panel manufacturers and has been awarded funding of $7.8m from Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) with total project budget of $8.21m.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) will lead the tandem solar cell project, with the most cash investment funded by ARENA. A significant part of the research will be carried out on the Midsummer UNO research machine for the production of thin film solar cells that the university previously purchased from Midsummer. The objective of the project is to produce a highly efficient and stable tandem solar cell with already commercialised technologies.

Present mass-produced silicon panels have an efficiency of around 20 percent and thin film panels like CIGS (copper, indium, gallium, selenide and/or sulphur) slightly lower. By combining the technologies in tandem solar cells, it is theoretically possible to reach a much higher efficiency.

The UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering is leading solar research institutes. Xiaojing Hao, who heads the UNSW project, comments: “We acknowledge the strong support from ARENA. By working closely with our project partners, world-leading chalcogenide and Si PV researchers and manufacturers, this project will provide next-generation, high-performance, durable and cost-effective tandem cells that can be rapidly scaled up."

“A tandem solar cell with silicon + chalcogenide has the best conditions for rapid commercialisation as they are two mature, stable and proven technologies. As Midsummer's DUO system already today uses the same solar cell size as silicon solar cells, it would be the obvious production tool choice when the world's largest solar panels manufacturers want to commercialise tandem solar cells on a large scale”, said Midsummer's CEO Sven Lindström.

Silicon-based tandem solar cells are seen as the main track to commercialise solar panels with over 30 percent efficiency. High-bandgap CIGS cells, which can be manufactured on Midsummer's machines, have demonstrated among the highest efficiencies for potential peak cells to combine with silicon and have the advantage of a very long lifetime as well as already proven scalability in mass production.

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