Manz AG in Germany has set a new world record for the efficiency of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar panels. The new numbers are 14.6% and 15.9% for total module and aperture efficiency, which they claim are the highest rates of any thin-film solar module. Note that module efficiencies are different from single solar cell efficiencies, which in laboratory conditions have reached much higher levels.
The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory has previously confirmed a 13.8% module efficiency of a large-area (meter-square) CIGS-based solar panel.
Manz says that their new record for thin-film solar panel efficiency puts CIGS-based solar panels in line with polycrystalline solar panels. Their mass production line, the Manz CIGSfab, can produce their new CIGS-based solar panels at a cost of between 0.04 – 0.08 Euro (0.05 – 0.10 US dollars) for every kWh. A CIGSfab production line with an annual capacity of 200 MW would equal 0.44 Euro (0.55 US dollars)/Wp.
The German solar panel manufacturer has in two years been able to cut investment costs for their production lines by as much as 40%.
Image credit: Manz
“The thin-film panels manufactured on our systems are competitive everywhere in the world, and as a result, the solar market’s growth will no longer be dependent on national subsidy conditions.” said Dieter Manz, founder and CEO of Manz.
Manz says their new CIGS-based solar panels and their new production line pushes solar panel costs down, past offshore wind parks, to the prices of fossil fuels.