AVANCIS, one of the leading manufacturers of CIS solar modules, achieved a new efficiency world record for encapsulated thin-film modules. On a 30 x 30 cm² Cd free CIS solar module, the company has achieved an international peak value of 16.6 %, which was independently confirmed by the U.S. Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the laboratory of the U.S. for research and development for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
AVANCIS increased its last externally certified efficiency record of 2011 and heads again the international efficiency ranking of encapsulated CIS thin-film modules. The aperture efficiency of 16.6 % of the champion module has been certified by NREL in January 2014 and will be listed in the official record efficiency table of the journal Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications released in the next edition (Solar Efficiency Tables, Table II: Confirmed terrestrial module efficiencies). Together with the recently published efficiency of ZSW´s 20.8 % efficiency on a laboratory cell, the result demonstrates the extraordinary potential of the CIS based thin-film technologies.
"The increased efficiency shows the enormous potential of our CIS production process," comments Dr. Jörg Palm, Head of Process Development at AVANCIS. "A transfer of the pilot process to the production would lead to an impressive module performance of nearly 160 Wp of the approximately 1 m² sized PowerMax ® modules. The very good homogeneity of the CIS absorber properties based on production dimensions of 158 x 66 cm² were demonstrated by the minor deviation of 0.15 % absolute between different 30 x 30 cm² modules from the same full-size absorber."
The 30 x 30 cm² sized champion module is taken by a mass-produced CIS absorber of the second AVANCIS factory in Torgau, and was further processed from the buffer processing in the research and development center in Munich.
The improvement in efficiency is based on the optimization of the buffer layer with respect to InxSy bandgap, band matching, and in particular transmission in a short wavelength range. In addition, the transmittance and the sheet resistance of the sputtered ZnO:Al front contact was optimized and the dead area between the series-connected cells was reduced by the use of picosecond laser process