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Scientists Create Cheap Perovskite/CIGS Stacked Solar Modules with Record-Breaking Efficiency

Sep 28, 2016 05:00 PM EDT

A team of scientists has further revolutionized solar energy by creating solar modules that are cheaper and more efficient by using a tandem solar module made of semitransparent perovskite solar module and a CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide solar module.

Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), ZSW and IMEC presented at the PSCO international conference a prototype of the new solar module using thin-film technology. IMEC from Belgium is a pioneer in manufacturing semitransparent perovskite solar modules while ZSW is a leader in the development of CIGS solar modules. According to the researchers, their creation surpasses the efficiency of current perovskite and CIGS solar modules by 17.8 percent, Science Daily reports.

To create the new solar module, the researchers used a stack module. By merging both perovskite and CIGS into one module, the new product could benefit from the advantages of both technologies. The upper semitransparent layer of the model is made of perovskite, which absorbs high solar energy. Meanwhile, the lower CIGS layer is responsible for infrared conversion.

"Our prototype demonstrates that scalable perovskite/CIGS solar modules can drastically surpass the efficiency of a separate solar module made of these materials," said Dr. Ulrich W. Paetzod of KIT, via a press release.

Having an area of 3.67 square meters, the stacked perovskite/CIGS model is also designed to meet industrial needs. It features a "monolithic interconnection scheme using 4 and 7 module cell stripes." Unlike other small-scale solar cells, the new stacked solar module can be interconnected for several square meters through laser processing.

"This result was made possible by combining the complementary world-leading expertise of the three partners in a very fruitful collaboration," said Tom Aernouts, team leader head of thin-film PV research at IMEC.

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