New flexible solar cells have impressive energy conversion rates

Photo credit: Solliance.eu

A short nine months ago, the locally based Solliance Solar Research presented the first record-breaking flexible solar cell. They did so in partnership with the US-based MiaSolé Hi-Tech Corp. Now, these two companies have established yet another world record.

They have achieved an energy conversion efficiency of a whopping 23%. Not only that, this was done on a flexible solar cell. The solar cell combines two thin-film solar cell technologies – Perovskite and CIGS – into a tandem solar cell stack.

A tandem solar cell can convert energy more efficiently than single-junction solar cells. This is thanks to the individual thin-film solar cells having bandgaps that can be tuned to complement each other. This process involves optimising transparent conductive electrodes to allow most of the infrared light to reach the bottom CIGS cell. 

Cost-effectiveness and high potential 

CIGS technology has a proven track record as a high efficiency and stable solar technology. It has been successfully used to produce high efficiency, flexible, lightweight cells and modules. Perovskite solar cells are a relatively young technology. Despite this, they have already achieved high efficiencies. They also promise low-cost solar technology based on abundant materials. Combining both technologies in a flexible and lightweight package expands the horizon of high performance, flexible, and customisable solar technology. 

MiaSolé Hi-Tech developed the flexible solar cell’s bottom CIGS cell. This company is located in Silicon Valley, California. The CIGS cell used in this tandem architecture is based on commercially available flexible solar cell technology. MiaSolé Hi-Tech are experts in the field of CIGS development and manufacturing. This expertise was combined with the Solliance team’s knowledge in the area of perovskite technology. This combination led to the new record efficiency flexible perovskite/CIGS tandem cell being produced.

”A highly efficient, flexible hybrid solar cell is a peek into how perovskite solar cell technology can change the established solar technology. This can lead to different application areas with improved performance” says Sjoerd Veenstra, Program Manager for Perovskite-based Solar Cells at Solliance. 

“This significant tandem cell performance gain was achieved through process improvements in the bottom CIGS cell”, adds Director of Technology at MiaSolé Hi-Tech Dmitry Poplavskyy. “These process changes enable high-efficiency CIGS cells with the spectral response that are better matched to the top perovskite cell. Further improvements in spectral matching as well as overall higher CIGS cell efficiency are expected to push the tandem architecture well beyond 23%”.

About Solliance Solar Research 

Solliance is a public-private partnership of companies, R&D institutes, and Dutch, Belgian, and German universities. These groups are all working in thin-film photovoltaic solar energy. They are led by imec and TNO.

Solliance consolidates and coordinates the activities of 250 researchers in industry, at research institutes, and universities. Various state-of-the-art laboratories and pilot production lines are jointly used for dedicated research programmes. These studies are being done in close cooperation with the solar business community.

MiaSolé Hi-Tech Corp. produces lightweight, flexible, powerful solar cells and cell manufacturing equipment. Their innovative solar cell is based on the highest efficiency thin-film technology available today. Its flexible cell architecture makes it ideal for a wide variety of solutions. These range from commercial roofing solar panels to flexible mobile energy devices.

About imec 

Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. Imed uses its world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries. As a result, they create groundbreaking innovation in different application domains. These include healthcare, logistics and manufacturing, and education. Imec is headquartered in Belgium. It has R&D groups at several Flemish universities. It also has these groups in the Netherlands, Taiwan, the USA, China. Imec has offices in India and Japan.

TNO is an independent Dutch research organisation. It connects people and knowledge to create innovations. These ideas help sustainably boost the competitive strength of industry and the well-being of society. TNO numbers more than 3,200 professionals.

Source: Solliance.eu

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