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3 December 2008


Ascent Solar achieves 9.64% CIGS PV module efficiency

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Littleton, CO, USA says that it has achieved energy conversion efficiency of greater than 9.5% for its flexible copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) monolithically integrated thin-film photovoltaic modules.

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has independently verified in tests that the modules - produced from the Ascent Solar’s 1.5MW pilot production line - measured as high as 9.64% in conversion efficiency.

“We have been working to achieve these efficiencies during our internal optimization process,” says Dr Prem Nath, senior VP of manufacturing. “The test modules measure six inches wide by one foot long and serve as our building block for portable power and building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products,” he adds. “Our goal continues to be the commercialization of flexible thin-film CIGS modules using a plastic substrate, which we hope will uniquely position Ascent Solar to provide lightweight flexible photovoltaic material at low cost,” Nath explains.

“Many doubted that a thin-film CIGS solar cell-on-plastic technology could be possible,” says NREL’s executive director Lawrence Kazmerksi. “Ascent Solar not only achieved this, but they now have confirmed efficiencies at NREL on fully integrated, monolithic prototype modules near 10%. This appears to be a substantial leap toward realizing high-performance, inexpensive thin-film solar photovoltaics.”

Previously, CIGS PV makers Nanosolar Inc of San Jose, CA, Global Solar Energy of Tucson, AZ and HelioVolt Corp of Austin, TX have also claimed efficiencies of about 10%. This compares with efficiencies of 14-20% for commercial silicon cells. However, in research, CIGS PV cell efficiencies have reached 19.9% - by NREL in March - and 17.7% - by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in July, but neither of these figures was achieved on flexible plastic substrates.

See related items:

Ascent and TurtleEnergy cooperate on building-integrated PV roofing materials

Hydro raises stake in Ascent Solar to 35%

Ascent Solar considers accelerating CIGS PV capacity ramp

AFRL awards Ascent $1.5m multi-junction PV contract

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