Manz AG is presenting a thin-film solar module at the EU PVSEC 2011 trade show with an aperture efficiency of 15.1 percent, something never before achieved. This level of efficiency refers to the photosensitive area of a module, and corresponds to a module efficiency of 14 percent. This value currently marks the world record and is the result of an intensive one-year partnership between Manz, the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) based in Stuttgart, and the module manufacturer Würth Solar from Schwäbisch Hall.
The world record module presented by Manz in an optimized design is based on CIGS thin-film technology, in which a sunlight-absorbing copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) layer is vapor deposited on the substrate. CIGS technology is currently considered the technology with the largest cost-cutting potential among the competing thin-film technology such as amorphous silicon (aSi) or cadmium telluride (CdTe). In a laboratory setting, CIGS cells have already reached an efficiency of over 20 percent , as demonstrated by the world record cell from Manz’s partner ZSW, which has an efficiency of 20.3 percent.
“The challenge of our partnership is now to significantly close the gap between the laboratory values and the levels of efficiency achieved in mass production,” explains Dieter Manz, founder and CEO of the company.
With the world record module presented at the PVSEC in Hamburg, Manz has established itself as a technological leader for CIGS. The company is currently the only supplier of a fully integrated production line for CIGS thin-film solar modules that can be operated profitably today: Manz’s CIGSfab. The CIGS solar module presented at the trade show, which has an original production size of 600 × 1,200 mm, offers an output of more than 100 watts and was mass-produced at Würth Solar’s factory in Schwäbisch Hall.
“Since worldwide module manufacturers are currently facing a considerable decline in prices, the only manufacturers who will survive financially are those who position themselves as cost leaders and can offer products with the best possible efficiency. Our CIGSfab perfectly meets these two demands and, in addition, is also based on the thin-film technology with the most potential,” explains Mr. Manz.