31 March 2011

Q-Cells hits record 13.4% efficiency for mass-produced CIGS thin-film PV module

Q-Cells SE of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany claims to have achieved record efficiency for mass-produced copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar modules manufactured via monolithic integration.

In February, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) measured a Q-Cells Q.SMART UF solar module manufactured by Q-Cells’ subsidiary Solibro GmbH in Freiburg, Germany confirmed a power output of 100.3 Watt peak (Wp) under standard test conditions, and a total area efficiency of 13.4% for the 0.75m2 (119cm x 63cm) module. Moreover, with an aperture area of 0.684m2, its aperture area efficiency is a record 14.7% (based on ‘Solar cell efficiency tables (version 37)’ compiled by Green MA, Emery K, Hishikawa Y and Warta W in Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications 2011; 19: 84-92). “In June 2010, Q-Cells achieved the previous efficiency world record of 13% with the same type of CIGS solar module out of series production,” notes chief operating officer Gerhard Rauter.

Q-Cells’ CIGS modules are currently taking part in a number of reference installations and are exhibiting stable energy yields (kWh/kWp). Even after one year of operation, Q.SMART systems in different European regions of irradiation show improved performances, claims the firm. The Q.SMART UF is currently among the top performers in a benchmark at a test field in Alice Springs run by the independent, Australian government-financed Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKASC), having achieved peak performance under extreme climate conditions. So far, the Q.SMART UF is the highest-performing solar module in this international comparison.

The unframed Q.SMART UF module is self-cleaning, suiting flat roofs and façade solutions. Due to its homogenous black surface it is appropriate for visual aesthetics and building-integrated installations and suitable for private and small- to medium-sized commercial and industrial rooftop and in-roof installations.

The modules are designed for good response to temperature and low light, ensuring high energy yields. This is supported by the positive sorting +5/-0W, allowing deviations only to higher-than-expected levels, says the firm. Advantageous cell geometry makes the modules especially efficient in the event of partial shading or a less-than-optimal positioning of the roof. The module also features durable glass encapsulation with a proven edge seal for long-term stability, ensuring protection and resistance to environmental influences.

Q-Cells currently offers two CIGS thin-film formats: Q.SMART (framed) and Q.SMART UF (unframed), and Q.SMART UF L (unframed large). The latter is 25% wider than the former two in order to reduce the associated balance of system (BoS) costs on large rooftop and free-field installations.

See related items:

Q-Cells’ CIGS PV modules outperform competitors at Australian desert test site

Tags: Q-Cells CIGS module

Visit: www.q-cells.com/qsmart

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