On June 1st, 2015, China's National Energy Bureau changed the minimum requirement for CIGS thin film solar modules to 13 per cent. It was raised from the previous level of 11 per cent.
Midsummer, a leading supplier of production lines for cost effective manufacturing of flexible thin film CIGS solar cells, today announced that it has increased the conversion efficiency of its solar modules to more than 13 per cent to meet the requirements of Chinese authorities for receiving government support for solar installations in China.
Midsummer recently passed this requirement by the Chinese authorities by increasing the efficiency of its CIGS thin film solar modules to above 13 per cent (corresponding to 14.3 per cent aperture area). The tests were carried out and verified by the certified Japanese independent testing laboratory Chemitox, Inc in March 2016.
The Chinese government's new guidelines for CIGS modules are clear: the conversion efficiency has to exceed 13 per cent in order for qualification to its "elite program", which gives access to large government subsidies, priority in government contracts, bank loans or any public/private projects.
"It is very important to gain entry to China's ‘elite program' in order to enjoy all the benefits and subsidies by the Chinese government, "said Sven Lindström, CEO, Midsummer. "I am happy to announce that we have indeed passed the 13 per cent efficiency threshold as verified by an independent testing laboratory. As always, our customers can rely on Midsummer being at the forefront of advanced solar technology and efficiency requirements."
Inexpensive lightweight flexible solar modules
With the production system from Midsummer the solar cells are manufactured individually and then stringed together into modules just like crystalline solar cells. This way, lightweight flexible modules can easily be made in any size and shape.
A dry, all-vacuum process has less stringent requirements for clean-rooms. Avoiding cadmium in the manufacturing process is desirable for the sake of the production staff and also makes it easier to commence low cost manufacturing of CIGS solar cells.
"Midsummer's objective is that our technology shall be a leader in the market segment of lightweight, flexible solar panels, and that the company shall grow in tandem with this rapidly growing segment", said Sven Lindström, CEO, Midsummer. "Thin film solar panels are the future of solar energy since they fit in to the ‘distributed energy' trend and can be fitted on buildings, vehicles etc."
Midsummer is a leading supplier of equipment for cost-effective manufacturing of CIGS thin film flexible solar cells. Midsummer's turnkey manufacturing lines have a small footprint, are perfectly scalable and allow for small-scale production of solar cells and modules.
Midsummer's customers are thin film solar cell manufacturers all over the world. CIGS flexible solar modules are growing in popularity thanks to their low weight, flexibility and durability. Applications are e.g. floating modules, vehicles, landfills, portable power generation and membrane roofs on factories, offices and other structures that are not strong enough for traditional glass modules
Founded in 2004 by people with a background from the optical disc manufacturing equipment and the photo mask industry, Midsummer has its head office in Stockholm, Sweden. Midsummer was the fastest growing green tech company in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in 2007-2011 (according to Deloitte).
About CIGS thin film solar cells
CIGS stands for copper-indium-gallium-selenium, a metal alloy that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect (PV). The CIGS absorber is deposited on a stainless steel substrate, along with electrodes on the front to collect current. The cells are then connected in series and covered by a protective layer of plastic to form a flexible solar module
Since a stainless steel substrate is used, the modules can be made without glass. The CIGS solar modules are therefore much lighter, flexible and can be made frameless, to suit applications where traditional silicon solar cells cannot be used, e.g. on structures that are uneven, moving or weak.
CIGS solar cells are manufactured by sputtering the material onto 156x156 mm stainless steel substrates. The solar cells from Midsummer are free of cadmium, a toxic material usually used in CIGS and other thin film solar cells. Flexible CIGS solar modules are gaining market share thanks to its high efficiency, low weight, flexibility and durability.