- High-tech equipment manufacturer achieves new, record efficiency for its CIGS modules on mass production line in Schwäbisch Hall
- Impressive transfer of the 21.7% world record for laboratory cells of technology partner ZSW Stuttgart to mass production
- CEO Dieter Manz: 16% record efficiency in module format is an important milestone, but immense potential of CIGS technology not nearly exhausted
Dubai, May 04, 2015. With a module efficiency of 16%, Manz AG presented an impressive new record efficiency grade for CIGS thin-film solar modules at SNEC in Shanghai, the world's leading trade fair for the photovoltaics (PV) industry. In doing so, Manz is pushing forward into a new dimension and closing the efficiency gap that has previously existed when compared to multi-crystalline technology that is still prevalent today. Interestingly, as the German firm further translates lab efficiencies to mass production, PV module production costs continue to decline – in its report Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) noted a 75% drop since 2009. This, therefore, better positions Manz’s CIGS thin-film solar modules to cater to the UAE’s ambitious solar objectives: the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) recently announced increased renewable energy targets of 7% by 2020 and 15% by 2030, asserting that energy generated by PV in 2016 will be enough to power more than 700,000 homes.
In the fall of 2014, the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research of Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Manz's exclusive development partner, was able to demonstrate the superiority of CIGS technology in comparison to crystalline solar cells in the laboratory, with a world-record efficiency of 21.7% in cell format. Manz is now transferring this superiority to production. The significance of this new record efficiency is all the greater since the high-tech equipment manufacturer produced the module on its innovative production line for CIGS technology at its location in Schwäbisch Hall, on equipment for mass production.
The significant increase in performance was achieved mainly by the next generation of CIGS semiconductor material, which Manz applies to a glass substrate in the so-called co-evaporation process. Additional technological innovation is a new module design for increasing the active module surface. In addition, Manz engineers were able to sustainably reduce optical losses.
Dieter Manz, founder and CEO of Manz AG, is extremely satisfied with the consistent, continued development of CIGS thin-film technology by his engineers: 'Our performance parameters are world-class. With significantly lower production costs compared to crystalline solar cells, CIGS technology will play a large role in the coming investment cycle of the photovoltaics industry.”
Today, CIGS modules from Manz already offer the lowest electricity generation costs in comparison to the still prevailing crystalline silicon technology.
“Earlier this year, the UAE announced revised renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030, and we are pleased to bring this increased efficiency grade, coupled with low production costs, to the table. Following this efficiency upgrade, CIGS thin-film modules, which were already highly suited to the region’s weather conditions, are now in an even stronger position to help achieve the UAE’s solar objectives,” said Mohamed Alammawi, Manz’s vice president of sales for the MENA region
Manz offers a secure investment option with maximum profitability
With Manz CIGSfab, the Reutlingen equipment manufacturer is currently the only supplier of turnkey CIGS production lines in the world, with a scalable production capacity of 50 to 350 MWs per year. With an internal rate of return of more than 15%, an investment in a fully integrated CIGS line from Manz is one of the most profitable in the entire energy sector.
Manz's new 16% record efficiency is the impressive result of a long-term development partnership with the Stuttgart Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research of Baden-Württemberg (ZSW). Following the presentation of 21.7% cell efficiency in the laboratory by the globally leading research institute for CIGS thin-film technology in the fall of 2014, Manz was able to transfer the essential insights of the technology that was used to mass production.
'Building on the know-how of ZSW and our own experts, it is thus absolutely realistic that we will already be able to present module efficiencies of significantly higher than 17% in the near future, produced on our innovative production line in Schwäbisch Hall. The goal of our joint efforts is the further reduction of electricity costs – around the world, under all climatic conditions,' said Dieter Manz.
Manz's new 16% record efficiency was certified last week by the testing organisation TÜV Rheinland. Manz AG offers potential investors in CIGS production systems a long-term road map for further efficiency increases, whose milestones have always been achieved ahead of schedule in recent years.