Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Improving the efficiency of thin film solar cells

Fundamental studies have been carried out to evaluate the potential of chalcopyrite (copper-indium-selenide, CIS) for use in solar cells. The results showed considerable improvements in efficiencies and technologies, and in the understanding of the fundamental characteristics of this kind of solar cell. The results will benefit developments in thin film solar cell technologies in the medium- to long-term.

The work was carried out in two main areas. The first work area involved the preparation of large area modules with high efficiency. The team aimed to produce a minimodule of dimensions 7x7 cm with a series connection of six to eight cells on a glass substrate. The aim was to increase the efficiency of the aperture area to more than 10 %. The second work area examined fundamental studies of the deposition processes and of CIS-based materials, to develop alternative more efficient and cost effective processes and evaluate their feasibility. The aim was to achieve devices with an efficiency of more than 16 %. Record values of efficiencies were achieved. Minimodules with substrate areas up to 100 cm{2} were constructed with a series connection of up to 15 cells on a glass substrate. The aperture area efficiency for small modules reached 12.4 %, while larger modules of 100 cm{2} were more than 10 % efficient. Significant progress was made in understanding basic material and device properties, and using this knowledge could then fabricate solar cells using CIS with efficiencies of more than 17 %.

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