Scientist Pinpoint Way To Improve CIGS Solar Cells

Oct 12, 2020 12:39 PM ET
  • CIGS thin-film solar cells have an optimum academic efficiency of about 33 percent, however the real-world efficiency has gotten to just around 23 percent. This shortfall is attributable to loss systems in the CIGS solar cell in the practical layers as well as at varied user interfaces. But where specifically and why these losses occur has been a point of opinion.
Scientist Pinpoint Way To Improve CIGS Solar Cells

Currently scientists from the Centre for Solar Energy as well as Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) have actually determined a method to transform more sunshine into power in CIGS cells. They published their searchings for in Nature Communications in August 2020.

Reducing the density of electrically active grain limits enhances performance.

Researchers at the ZSW, MLU and also HZB have actually now discovered more about their beginnings. "Some of the losses occur at the borders in between the individual CIGS crystals in the solar cell. Positive and adverse electric charges can neutralise each other at these grain borders, some of which are electrically active," says project supervisor Wolfram Witte from the ZSW. "This reduces the cell's efficiency.".

The group were able to identify this sort of loss system by combining speculative measurement methods with computer simulations. The HZB examined an extremely efficient CIGS solar cell with different electron microscopy strategies as well as optoelectronic determining methods such as photoluminescence to supply realistic values to the two-dimensional tool simulation created at the MLU.

The ZSW produced the CIGS cell in a co-evaporation procedure that deposits copper, indium, gallium and also selenium concurrently in a vacuum. The cell's performance was 21 percent without an added anti-reflective layer. The physical microstructure of this cell and the worths gotten in explores various logical approaches worked as the input criteria for two-dimensional simulations.

Computer system simulations revealed that boosted recombination at electrically energetic grain boundaries within the CIGS layer constitutes a considerable loss device. Most of all, this lowers the open-circuit voltage and fill factor, which lowers the cell's efficiency. "What requires to be done to additional improve the effectiveness of CIGS thin-film solar cells and modules is to minimize the thickness of the electrically energetic grain borders and produce CIGS layers with larger grains," claims Witte.

This could be achieved with technical ways, as an example, by increasing the CIGS layer with ingredients, adapting the substrate material or optimising the temperature equilibrium during finishing. These would be encouraging points of departure for the photovoltaic sector's efforts to elevate the performance of CIGS modules.

EFFCIS project.

The findings explained in Nature Communications were one of numerous partial outcomes acquired in a joint project called EFFCIS. Moneyed by the BMWi, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and also Energy, this study venture ended in 2020 after a run of around three as well as a half years. Nine companions collaborated in a consortium that had experts from study institutes, colleges and also market working together under the management of the ZSW.

Their initiatives focused on localising and finding out more regarding the leading loss systems in CIGS thin-film solar cells and modules to then lower or eliminate these losses with cutting-edge steps. The companions utilized analytical tools with high temporal as well as spatial resolutions to figure out the chemical and also physical properties of the functional layers and user interfaces in CIGS solar cells.

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