Midsummer, a Sweden supplier of production lines for cost effective manufacturing of flexible thin film CIGS solar cells, has increased the efficiency of its solar cells. This increased energy efficiency further strengthens the business case and attractiveness of thin film CIGS solar cells.
Midsummer has recently managed to increase the efficiency of the whole solar cell from 15% to 16.2% aperture area of the full 156×156 mm cell. The solar cell was manufactured in a regular production run and the process is already implemented in the production line.
“Considering that the solar cell is made on stainless steel, contains no cadmium and that the production process is an all-dry, all vacuum process where all layers (including the buffer layer) are deposited by sputtering, this achievement by our engineers is truly impressive,” said Sven Lindström, CEO Midsummer.
Inexpensive lightweight flexible modules
With the production system from Midsummer, the solar cells are manufactured individually and then stringed together into modules just like crystalline solar cells. This way, lightweight flexible modules can easily be made in any size and shape.
A dry, all-vacuum process has less stringent requirements for clean-rooms. Avoiding cadmium in the manufacturing process is desirable for the sake of the production staff and also makes it easier to commence low cost manufacturing of CIGS solar cells.
Market shifts towards rooftop installations
“The global solar cell market is facing a paradigm shift,” said Sven Lindström, CEO, Midsummer. “Fewer large solar energy parks are being built in Europe. Instead, focus is moving to installations on large buildings in cities. The lightweight and flexible thin film solar cells are ideal for this use. It is economically and environmentally more beneficial to use solar energy locally, where it is produced.”
Midsummer also aims to bring its technology a big name in the market segment lightweight, flexible solar panels so the company shall grow in tandem with this rapidly growing segment.