Leading high-tech equipment manufacturer Manz AG presented a new record efficiency grade for copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar modules, with a module efficiency of 16%, at leading trade fair for photovoltaics industry SNEC in Shanghai, China.

The German firm has further translated lab efficiencies to mass production, with PV module production costs continuing to decline 75% since 2009, according to the ‘Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014’ report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

This, therefore, better positions Manz’s CIGS thin-film solar modules to cater to the UAE’s ambitious solar objectives: the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) recently announced increased renewable energy targets of seven% by 2020 and 15% by 2030, asserting that energy generated by PV next year will be enough to power more than 700,000 homes.

In the fall of last year, the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research of Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Manz’s exclusive development partner, was able to demonstrate the superiority of CIGS technology in comparison to crystalline solar cells in the laboratory, with a world-record efficiency of 21.7% in cell format.

Manz is now transferring this superiority to production. The significance of this new record efficiency is all the greater since the high-tech equipment manufacturer produced the module on its innovative production line for CIGS technology at its location in Schwäbisch Hall, on equipment for mass production.

The significant increase in performance was achieved mainly by the next generation of CIGS semiconductor material, which Manz applies to a glass substrate in the so-called co-evaporation process.

Additional technological innovation is a new module design for increasing the active module surface. In addition, Manz engineers were able to sustainably reduce optical losses.

Dieter Manz, founder and chief executive officer, said: “Our performance parameters are world-class. With significantly lower production costs compared to crystalline solar cells, CIGS technology will play a large role in the coming investment cycle of the photovoltaics industry.”

With Manz CIGSfab, the Reutlingen equipment manufacturer is currently the only supplier of turnkey CIGS production lines in the world, with a scalable production capacity of 50 to 350 MWs per year.

With an internal rate of return of more than 15%, an investment in a fully integrated CIGS line from Manz is one of the most profitable in the entire energy sector.

“Building on the know-how of ZSW and our own experts, it is thus absolutely realistic that we will already be able to present module efficiencies of significantly higher than 17% in the near future, produced on our innovative production line in Schwäbisch Hall. The goal of our joint efforts is the further reduction of electricity costs – around the world, under all climatic conditions,” said Manz.

The firms new 16% record efficiency was certified last week by the testing organisation TÜV Rheinland.

Source: Trade Arabia