CLICK HERE: free registration for Semiconductor Today and Semiconductor Today ASIACLICK HERE: free registration for Semiconductor Today and Semiconductor Today ASIA

26 March 2013

PV modules from Manz’s CIGS innovation line installed in China’s Shilin Town Solar Park

Manz AG of Reutlingen, Germany, which supplies integrated production lines for crystalline silicon solar cells and thin-film solar modules (as well as lines flat-panel displays), says it is demonstrating the standards of its CIGSfab production line for copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar panels via the installation of modules with a nominal capacity of 1MW at a project in Shilin Town in China's south-western province of Yunnan (currently the largest CIGS module solar park feeding power into the Chinese grid).

The modules were produced on the CIGS innovation line at Manz’s research site in Schwäbisch-Hall, which was taken over from Würth Solar at the start of 2012. “Now that the Solar Park in Shilin Town has been commissioned, we can demonstrate the advantages of CIGS technology and the excellent manufacturing quality of our machines in practice,” says founder & CEO Dieter Manz. “We are highly optimistic that we will also be able to convince interested solar cell producers of the benefits of our CIGSfab [Manz’s integrated production line for CIGS thin-film solar panels],” he adds.

The investor in the Shilin Town project is Beijing Sanglin Lantian Co Ltd, which focuses on the planning and realization of renewable energy generation projects, among other things. “In comparison with the crystalline solar modules already installed, the Manz CIGS solar modules yield up to 10% more [output],” comments the firm’s president Xiao-Yi Wang (a shareholder in the Solar Park). “That is an absolutely decisive figure which underscores sustainably the immense potential of this technology and impressively demonstrates the benefits of the favourable temperature coefficients of CIGS in the almost subtropical climate of Yunnan,” he adds.

“In terms of efficiency, in recent months we have made a great step forward,” says Dieter Manz. “Now, in mass production we reach more than 13% on a stable basis. This has so far been unequalled anywhere else in the world,” he claims. Beijing Sanglin Lantian has had the modules installed in the open landscape, integrated into buildings and in roof-mounted configuration.

Manz notes that the Chinese government has adopted CIGS technology as a focus of research in its 12th five-year plan. CIGS modules achieve significantly higher energy conversion efficiency than other thin-film modules, the firm adds. At the same time, production costs are much lower than for crystalline solar cells since, in the case of CIGS, the semiconductor layer that absorbs sunlight is largely composed of low-cost copper and is less than 2 microns thick (about one hundredth that of a crystalline solar cell). Producing thin-film modules based on glass substrates also obviates the costly manufacture of silicon wafers, as well as the need to interconnect each individual cell.

Manz says that its CIGSfab production line makes it possible to produce high-efficiency thin-film modules at economic cost. Dependent on location, modules manufactured on the integrated CIGS production line will in future be able to supply energy at a cost of between 4 euro cents (in Spain) and 8 euro cents (in Germany) per kilowatt hour, it is reckoned, putting solar electricity on a par with electricity generated from fossil fuels, and well below the cost of power generated by offshore wind farms. In addition to complete manufacturing lines, Manz also provides the expertise required for module production. The firm says it can hence also enable new entrants to the solar market to rapidly ramp up local production of solar modules in growth markets of the future.

Tags: Manz CIGS


See Latest IssueRSS Feed