Solar Frontier hits 17.2% efficiency on CIS solar cell

Solar Frontier’s Japan-based research laboratory achieved 17.2% aperture area efficiency on a 30 x 30cm CIS-based thin-film submodule solar cell.

March 30, 2011 — Solar Frontier achieved 17.2% aperture area efficiency on a 30 x 30cm copper indium selenium (CIS)-based photovoltaic (PV) submodule, according to in-house measurements. The efficiency was recorded at Solar Frontier’s dedicated research laboratory in Atsugi, Japan, a cornerstone of the company’s integrated research and production framework, in cooperation with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

The efficiency achievement is a step toward equaling or surpassing the performance of polycrystalline silicon cells with mass-production CIS modules, said Satoru Kuriyagawa, CTO at Solar Frontier. Kuriyagawa added that technological advances made in Atsugi are transitioned to mass production through the company’s integrated research and production framework, which includes a pilot plant equipped with the machines on which Solar Frontier’s gigawatt-scale Kunitomi plant’s machinery is based. Solar Frontier’s next-generation modules are currently manufactured at the Kunitomi plant, which started commercial production in February 2011.

The new record surpasses Solar Frontier’s previous achievement of 16.3% set in September 2010.

Details of the 17.2% achievement will be made available at the 37th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, to be held June 19-24, 2011 at the Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington.

Also see: Large-scale utility solar: Solar Frontier discusses the sector and unique requirements

Solar Frontier, a 100% subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., uses proprietary CIS technology, denoting key ingredients copper, indium, and selenium (in addition to gallium and sulfur), to make thin film solar panels. Visit for more information. 

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