SOLLIANCE SOLAR RESEARCH AND MIASOLÉ HI-TECH CORP. ESTABLISH NEW WORLD RECORD CONVERSION EFFICIENCY WITH FLEXIBLE SOLAR CELLS.
In a collaboration between USA based MiaSolé Hi-Tech Corp and European Solliance Solar Research a power conversion efficiency of 26.5% on a tandem solar cell was established. The architecture combines two thin-film solar cell technologies: a top rigid semi-transparent perovskite solar cell with a bottom flexible copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) cell.
Combing best of both worlds
A tandem solar cell, which combines a semi-transparent perovskite cell and a CIGS cell, has the potential for high conversion efficiency exceeding single junction solar cell performance thanks to tunable and complementary bandgaps of these individual thin film solar cells.
In order to realize maximum conversion efficiencies, the absorption properties of the top perovskite cell and of the bottom CIGS cell should be tuned to complement each other. The perovskite solar cell was deposited on a transparent and flexible substrate, employed transparent conductive electrodes, and was optimized for maximum visible light conversion efficiency and infrared light transparency to allow the majority of infrared light to reach the bottom CIGS cell.
Cost efficient and high potential
This impressive efficiency was achieved by optimizing the bandgap and the efficiency of both the rigid semi-transparent perovskite top cell and the flexible CIGS bottom cell.
The CIGS was roll to roll produced on steel foil, with an impressive power conversion efficiency of 20.0%.
“Rollable, ultra light, solar cells and modules have dramatically expanded the applications of solar energy in infrastructure, electrical vehicles, and mobile energy markets. MiaSolé has delivered a rollable solar cell efficiency of 20.56% and a large area module efficiency of 18.64% on production ready equipment, and we will keep breaking more world records together with Solliance to build perovskite/CIGS tandem technology for the future.” Added Dr. Jie Zhang, CEO of MiaSolé.
The stable and scalable semi-transparent perovskite solar cell has been developed on glass. This cell architecture is currently transferred to a flexible carrier enabling a fully flexible, highly efficient solar foil. The device was optimized to maximize the visible light conversion and at the same time to maximize the infrared light transparency in order to allow the majority of infrared light to reach the bottom CIGS cell. This approach resulted in an efficiency of 17.5% for the top device, measured at the maximum powerpoint, tracked for 5 minutes. At Solliance TNO, imec, and TU/e contributed to realize this perovskite solar cell.
CIGS technology has a proven track record as a high efficiency and stable solar technology and has entered high volume manufacturing in multi-GW scale around the world. CIGS technology has been successfully used to produce high efficiency flexible and lightweight cells and modules, which address markets where heavy and rigid panels cannot be used.
Perovskite solar cells, despite being a relatively young technology, have already achieved high efficiencies, and 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 customizable solar technology.
The CIGS bottom cell was developed by MiaSolé Hi-Tech, a provider of CIGS production turn-key factories and manufacturer of CIGS flexible solar panels, located in Silicon Valley, California. The CIGS cell used in this tandem architecture is based on a commercially available high efficiency flexible solar cell technology fabricated on lightweight stainless-steel foil using a proprietary high throughput roll-to-cell sputtering process. Recently, MiaSolé reported a flexible large area certified module efficiency of 17.44% with an active area of 1.08 m2.
As a result of the combined expertise of MiaSolé Hi-Tech in CIGS development and manufacturing and the Solliance team in the area of perovskite technology, a new record efficiency flexible perovskite/CIGS tandem cell was produced. ”A highly efficient flexible hybrid solar cell is an outlook on how perovskite solar cell technology can innovate the established solar technology, leading to a different application area with improved performance” according to 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, implemented by MiaSolé, enable high efficiency CIGS cells with the spectral response 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 26.5%”.
About Solliance Solar Research
Solliance is public-private partnership of companies, R&D institutes and universities from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, working in thin film photovoltaic solar energy and led by imec and TNO. In order to strengthen the region’s position as a world player in PV, Solliance is creating the required synergy by consolidating and coordinating 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 programs which are executed in close cooperation with the solar business community.
Solliance offers participation in its research programs and opens up its lab facilities to new entrants, either from industry or in research. On the basis of clear Intellectual Property (IP) agreements, each industrial partner can participate in this research effort, or alternatively, hire equipment and experts to further develop its own technology.
About MiaSolé Hi-Tech
MiaSolé, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hanergy, is a producer of lightweight, flexible, shatterproof and powerful solar cells and cell manufacturing equipment. The innovative solar cell is based on the highest efficiency thin-film technology available today, and its flexible cell architecture makes it ideal for a wide variety of solutions ranging from commercial roofing solar modules to flexible mobile energy devices. MiaSolé’s turnkey CIGS equipment lines, CIGS process equipment technology, proprietary CIG target manufacturing, R&D product development support, and spare parts allow customers to produce their own high-efficiency cells and solar products. Founded in 2004, MiaSolé has evolved into the world leader in thin-film solar module efficiency. For more information on MiaSolé, please visit https://www.miasole.com/.
Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create ground-breaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 85 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2017, imec’s revenue (P&L) totalled 546 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec-int.com.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a “stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited), imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).
TNO is an independent research organization of the Netherlands and connects people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the competitive strength of industry and the well-being of society in a sustainable way. This is our mission and it is what drives us, the over 3,200 professionals at TNO, in our work every day. We believe in the joint creation of economic and social value and we work in collaboration with partners and focus on different domains: 1- Buildings, Infrastructure & Maritime : ‘Robust constructions, sustainable use’, 2- The Circular Economy and the Environment: ‘Directing and accelerating sustainability’, 3- Defense, Safety and Security: ‘We’re putting our knowledge and technology to work for safety and security’, 4- Energy: ‘Faster towards a sustainable energy supply’, 5- Healthy living: ‘Focusing on participation, not on the disease’, 6- Industry: ‘Innovating for employment, welfare and well-being’, 7- Information & Communication Technology: ‘Interpreting and accelerating digital transformation’, 8- Strategic Analysis & Policy: ‘Turning complex issues into concrete innovations’, 9- Traffic and Transport: ‘Helping to create live able, sustainable cities’.Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. We develop knowledge not for its own sake, but for practical application.