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Mar 2nd, 2012
 
Solar frontier sets new efficiency world record on a small CIGS submodule
 
Solar Frontier announced that it has achieved 17.8% aperture area efficiency on a 30cm x 30cm CIGS-based photovoltaic submodule in joint research with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
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  • Solar Frontier has achieved 17.8% aperture area efficiency on a 30cm x 30cm CIGS-based PV submodule.
  • This new record surpasses Solar Frontier’s previous world record of 17.2% set in March 2011.

This new record for thin-film CIGS technology was accomplished at Atsugi Research Center (ARC), Solar Frontier’s dedicated research laboratory in Japan that is the cornerstone of the company’s integrated research and production framework. After a string of major deals and production milestones unveiled in the past few months, announcement underlines the company’s fundamental capability in R&D with focus on practical commercial applications.

“I would like to emphasize as we have before that this efficiency is on a fully integrated submodule, which our laboratory produces with processes very similar to what is in place in our factories at commercial production scale,” said Satoru Kuriyagawa, Chief Technology Officer at Solar Frontier. “Even higher efficiencies can be achieved by using a device with a very small surface area, but the reason we prefer to focus on the submodule level is that the path to commercial production is more practical. This achievement confirms that we are on track to achieve the higher module efficiencies we are targeting in our commercial production efficiency roadmap.” 
 
“This latest efficiency achievement demonstrates Solar Frontier’s continued leadership not only in the mass production of CIGS thin-film solar modules but also in the technology’s fundamental advancement, where our company’s roots lie as a pioneer of CIGS,” said Solar Frontier’s Senior Vice President, Atsuhiko Hirano. “ARC is one of the most advanced solar R&D labs in the world. Its achievements include pioneering work in the zinc oxide buffer compound that eliminates the need for cadmium. The work done here is the foundation on which our products are able to achieve more kilowatt hours under actual operating conditions, meeting the needs of residential, commercial and utility customers worldwide.”
 
This new record surpasses Solar Frontier’s previous world record of 17.2% set in March 2011.
 
Solar Frontier’s CIGS modules are manufactured at its Kunitomi plant, which started full commercial operations last year. The technological advances made at ARC are applied to mass production through Solar Frontier’s integrated research and production framework, which includes a pilot plant equipped with the machines on which the gigawatt-scale Kunitomi plant’s machinery is based.
 
The Kunitomi plant recently produced a champion module at 14.5% aperture efficiency (13.38% module efficiency), achieving a 164W rating.


 
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