What is CIGS?

PVMC is focused on technology development of CIGS technology—
an innovative, cost effective, way to harness the power of sunlight into electricity

Photovoltaics (PV), the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity, are made from solid-state semiconductor Sunlight is the most abundant, versatile and environmentally friendly energy resource materials that are used in the microelectronics industry today. PV solar cells are layers of semiconductor materials that are deposited along with other elements to form a cell, which enables the generation of solar electricity.

Photovoltaic cells produce no emissions and use no fuel, making it the most benign method of power generation known today. The solar energy that falls on the earth's surface in one hour is about the same amount of the total energy consumed by the world's population in a year1.

Thin Film CIGS Photovoltaic Technology

Thin film solar technologies use layers of semiconductor materials that are only a few micrometers thick and these materials can be deposited on flexible or light substrates.

what are CIGS

There are a number of alternative thin film PV technologies currently being commercialized including amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium di-selenide (CIGS).

Extensive research and development on thin film cells has been conducted for more than 30 years, and recent advances in manufacturing and product commercialization have led Global Industry Analysts (GIA) to estimate that the global thin film market will reach nearly $23 billion by 2020 (pv-insider).

Thin film PV technology is growing rapidly in the face of demand for lower cost modules made from readily available commodities. Thin film photovoltaics have been shown to be much less expensive to produce in larger volume.

Solar cells and modules based on thin films hold the promise for reducing the cost of solar energy. Among known material alternatives to crystalline silicon, CIGS has a high potential for conversion efficiencies and an optimal form factor for rigid and flexible substrates.

Benefits of CIGS

The benefits of CIGS modules are:

  • CIGS solar cells possess an optimal form factor for rigid and flexible substrates—CIGS can be manufactured on low cost glass substrates which enables access to the largest PV markets, enables use of existing mounting systems, is compatible with existing photovoltaic system infrastructure, and has the ability to dominate the building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) market in the future.
  • CIGS has the highest efficiency among all thin film solar technologies; it can absorb over 99 percent of sun ray spectrum and it has the highest current density. CIGS ranks the highest in conversion efficiency for laboratory samples among all other thin film solar technologies.
  • CIGS modules have demonstrated reliable and stable field performance for nearly 20 years.

For more information on PVMC CIGS or to participate, please contact Pradeep Haldar, phaldar@sunycnse.com


1 Based on analysis of Statistical Review of World Energy (2009), NASA Earth Observatory — Climate and Earth's Energy Budget (2011).