Avancis announces 16.6% efficiency for CIS module

This rooftop PV system in Germany consists of 15 Powermax 130 W modules from Avancis.

German thin-film manufacturer Avancis GmbH has achieved a world record efficiency of 16.6% for an encapsulated CIS thin-film module. The record aperture efficiency was achieved on a 30 x 30 cm² Cd-free CIS module and was independently confirmed by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
»The increased efficiency shows the enormous potential of our CIS production process,« comments 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.« According to the company, the improvement in efficiency was achieved through the optimization of »the buffer layer with respect to InxSy bandgap, band matching and in particular transmission in a short wavelength range.« Additionally, 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 a picosecond laser process. The company does not say when the improvements will be incorporated into its commercial production line.
Citing global overcapacity and low module prices, Avancis halted production at its 100 MW module plant in Torgau, Saxony, Germany in September 2013. The company had already shut down its 20 MW production facility in April to turn it into an R&D facility. Short-time work for the company’s 200 employees was implemented on Sept. 1, a spokeswoman for Avancis parent company Saint-Gobain SA told PHOTON in September. Short-time work is scheduled to last for a maximum of 12 months. The 100 MW facility produces frameless CIS modules. The spokeswoman did not say when production might recommence, saying only that the company is hoping that module prices will rise due to new limits on Chinese module imports into the EU.

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