CIGS: a promising material
Thin film technology based on CIGS is promising. A major advantage of CIGS is that the semiconductor can be applied to a thin substrate. As a result of the flexibility and light weight, countless new applications are possible. Together with industrial partners, Solliance is working on better performance and cheaper production of flexible CIGS panels.
On glass or foil
The semiconductor can be deposited on glass and on foil. Glass CIGS solar panels are already available on the market today, and are doing relatively well in the Netherlands. Consumers usually find them better looking than traditional silicon modules. Moreover, research suggests that they perform better when the sun is less bright.
Glass CIGS panels in non-standard dimensions
Solliance has the technology in-house to deposit CIGS on glass. Our research is now focusing on the manufacture of these panels to customer specifications. We believe that it is possible to manufacture glass CIGS panels cheaply and in non-standard dimensions.
Cost-effective PV foil production process
CIGS on foil has numerous advantages. The material is not only lightweight and flexible, but can also be made translucent. Research is important in order to manufacture flexible solar panels in an economically viable manner.
Better deposition process
The production process of PV foils itself can also be greatly improved. We are currently doing extensive research into exactly how active layers are deposited and the conditions under which it occurs. We want to move towards lower deposition temperatures (to prevent foils from melting) and more cost-effective deposition processes (no vacuum, applying more precise layers using, for example, spatial ALD technology).
Improving barrier foils
Barrier technology is also an important research topic. Currently, there is only one material available that can serve as a protective coating PV foils. Because it is relatively expensive, we are looking into cheaper alternatives. To do so, we are making use of a device developed within Solliance, among other things. This device is able to perform accelerated testing of the lifespan of solar panels by simulating all kinds of real-life conditions.
Strong position in CIGS research
Solliance has a strong position in the field of CIGS research and knows all of the key players in the sector. We have entered into a long-term research partnership with the chemical company DSM and Russian technology investor Solartek. We are also working in around 30 different projects, all focused mainly on practical applications of CIGS.
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