Japanese CIGS manufacturer Solar Frontier has claimed a world record for solar PV at its Atsugi Research Centre. The company announced that it had achieved an aperture efficiency of 17.8% on a 30cm by 30cm submodule.
Most of the company's CIGS modules are produced at its Kunitomi plant where it claims to have developed a champion module with 14.5 percent aperture efficiency, translating to 13.38 percent module efficiency.
Lux Research recently wrote in its CIGS market and technology report that CIGS success depends on efficiency gains. "Since efficiency of modules dictates installation footprint in applications" the report said "and hence system prices, the adoption of CIGS modules in residential, commercial, and utility applications will be a function of how effectively their conversion efficiency matches or comes close to mc-Si and c-Si modules." At the moment, average CIGS module efficiency ranges between 10 percent and 11 percent whereas mc-Si modules have reached 14.5 and 15.5 percent. The report added that "First Solar's CdTe modules measure 11.6 percent on average today". This means that Solar Frontier's modules can be placed somewhere between CdTe and mc-Si being higher than average CIGS. Lux Research also believes that there is further potential to be obtained by CIGS and that this is why the technology is so attractive.
Meanwhile German research body Zentrum fur Sonnenenergie-und Wasserstoff-Forschung (ZSW), has obtained a cell efficiency of 20.3 percent. ZSW is currently working in partnership with equipment supplier Manz and module manufacturer Würth Solar. Manz claimed a world record module efficiency of 15.1 percent last summer.