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Solar Frontier Sets Another PV Efficiency Record

Being able to increase the amount of electricity generated by a single PV module is an important facet of the work that solar PV manufacturers undertake in their R&D efforts. The greater the efficiency of the panel, the less panels are needed to produce a certain amount of energy. This in turn then lowers installed costs for solar PV developers.

That’s why when a company achieves a new efficiency record, it shouts about it.  And that is exactly what Solar Frontier is shouting about today.

In a joint research effort with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Solar Frontier said that it has achieved 20.9 percent conversion efficiency on a 0.5cm2 CIS cell. This is a world-record conversion efficiency for thin-film PV technologies, according to the company, beating Solar Frontier’s previous world record of 19.7 percent conversion efficiency set in January 2013 for CIS thin-film cells that do not contain cadmium, on top of the previous 20.8 percent cell efficiency record for all thin-film PV technologies, set by Avancis in February of this year.

The highly respected Fraunhofer Institute verified the result.

According to Satoru Kuriyagawa, Chief Technology Officer of Solar Frontier, the new record is from a CIS cell cut from a 30cm by 30cm substrate, “the same method we use in our factories,” he said. Kuriyagawa believes that this means that Solar Frontier will be able to mass-produce the new more efficient cell easily.

The efficiency record was achieved at the Atsugi Research Center (ARC) in Kanagawa, Japan. ARC focuses on boosting the conversion efficiency of its customers CIS modules, developing proprietary mass production machinery, and reducing overall system costs for end users. The ARC has been at the forefront of advancing CIS technology, setting numerous world records since it was established in 2009, according to the company.

For an overview on why solar cell efficiencies are important to the solar PV industry, check out our articles What's Behind Record-Breaking Solar Cell Efficiencies, Part 1 and Part 2.

Lead image: Aerial view of the Solar Frontier Factory in Miyazaki, Japan. Image credit: Solar Frontier.

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