Independently certified tests on a flexible, solar cell show that scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have boosted the energy conversion efficiency from 17.6% to a staggering 18.7% in a year. The copper indium gallium (di)selenide, CIGS, material represents a new world record beating the team's own previous best of June 2010. To make solar power viable without subsidies, large scale, easy to develop and inexpensive solar cells are needed. This latest improvement means these relatively inexpensive materials are gradually closing the efficiency gap on polycrystalline silicon-based devices. Team leader Ayodhya Tiwari suggests CIGS will ultimately lead to a paradigm shift in solar power technology.
CIGS solar record