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29.11.2011 11:47

CIGS thin-film technology reaches world-record efficiency of 17.4%

  • Solibro demonstrates groundbreaking efficiency of 17.4% with next generation CIGS thin-film technology for Q.SMART modules
  • CIGS sets world-record for entire thin-film sector catching up with crystalline technology

Bitterfeld-Wolfen (Germany), 29 November 2011 – Solibro GmbH, a subsidiary of Q-Cells SE, has marked a ground-breaking world record with its thin-film technology CIGS. Solibro’s thin-film Q.SMART module technology is now the first in the entire thin-film sector to achieve a solar module efficiency of 17.4% (aperture area). The new record has been confirmed by the independent Fraunhofer ISE Institute, located in Freiburg, Germany. The record test module, with size 16 cm2, was fabricated using processes fully scalable to cost-effective mass production. The co-evaporation CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenid) process uses metal flux profiles, temperature profiles as well as process time similar to Solibro’s current production.

“We are very proud of this result as it demonstrates the leadership of the CIGS technology produced by Q-Cells’ subsidiary Solibro. The current record verifies the feasibility of the efficiency roadmap of the Q.SMART module targeting an average aperture efficiency out of series production of up to 16.7 % in 2016”, said Lars Stolt, CTO of Solibro.

Already in March 2011, a Q.SMART thin-film module, marked a world-record, with an independently confirmed efficiency rating of 14.7% which still is the world-record for monolithically integrated CIGS thin film modules in series production, today.

Q.SMART’s CIGS technology harnesses a “light-soaking” effect unique in the thin-film sector to generate an average of 2.5 percent power boost above nominal power at standard test conditions. Q.SMART also outperforms in diverse environmental conditions, including low-light periods of the day and high-heat climates. Ideal for residential, commercial and utility-scale settings, Q.SMART comes along with a positive sorting; i.e. customers always receive what they pay for - and more. In October 2011 Q-Cells realised a lighthouse project by delivering around 200.000 Q.SMART modules into the world’s largest CIGS solar power plant located in Ammerland, Germany.

The CIGS technology behind Q.SMART was developed in 1983 by the Ångström Solar Center at Uppsala University, Sweden, commercialized by the spin-off company Solibro in 2006, and acquired by Q-Cells in 2009. Q.SMART is produced in Thalheim, Germany, at the company’s own factory with a total nominal production capacity of 135 MWp.

With this world-record Q-Cells has marked the fifth world record in 2011 underpinning the technological leadership of its products. Next to the two world-records in the CIGS sector, a polycrystalline solar module from Q-Cells’ in-house research centre achieved a module efficiency of 18.1% related to the aperture area in July 2011. Recording this efficiency, Q-Cells has beaten its own world record of 17.8%, set in spring 2011. In April 2011, a cell produced on the basis of the Q.ANTUM technology had already set a record for major polycrystalline solar cells, achieving an efficiency of 19.5%.

Q-Cells SE
OT Thalheim, Sonnenallee 17-21
06766 Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany
WEB www.q-cells.com

Q-Cells Corporate Communications
Ina von Spies, Alberta Rohardt
TEL +49 (0)3494 6699.10121
FAX +49 (0)3494 6699.10000
EMAIL presse@q-cells.com

About Q-Cells SE The Q-Cells Group is one of the world’s leading photovoltaics companies and offers a wide range of photovoltaic solutions, from solar cells and modules to solar power plants. Q-Cells’s products are developed and manufactured at its headquarters in Bitterfeld-Wolfen (Germany) and marketed via its global sales network. It also has a second production plant in Malaysia. More than 200 scientists and engineers at Q-Cells are working to swiftly advance solar technology and achieve Q-Cells’ twin aims: driving down the costs of photovoltaics quickly and permanently, and making solar power competitive. The close links between R&D and production enable Q-Cells to rapidly translate cutting-edge innovation into mass production - and underpin its ambition to be at the forefront of photovoltaic technology. Q-Cells is quoted on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662) and also listed on the TecDAX, the German technology index.

Executive Board: Dr Nedim Cen (CEO, CFO), Dr Andreas von Zitzewitz (COO, CSO)
Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Prof Dr h c Karlheinz Hornung