21 September 2017
Flisom launches lightweight flexible CIGS solar panels
At a roll-out event for customers and partners in Zurich, Flisom AG of Niederhasli, Switzerland – which has the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) as a technology partner – showcased its flexible copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar panels with a range of applications including buildings-integrated photovoltaic (PV) modules for lightweight roofs and facades, and a stratospheric weather balloon covered with ultra-lightweight solar film, powering electronic equipment.
Flisom’s solar modules are light (down to 200g/m2), highly efficient (up to 50x power-to-weight ratio compared with silicon solar panels) and ultra-thin (under 2mm).
Flisom was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the Solid State Physics of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). Since 2013, it has invested in developing proprietary manufacturing equipment and components, creating a unique ‘roll to roll’ manufacturing process that can replicate the laboratory success of CIGS solar technology on an industrial scale. It is already scaling up production in Switzerland to fulfil incoming orders and scouting for locations globally for further scale up.
The firm says that it is already working with leading global automotive aerospace, and transportation companies to create custom solar-integrated solutions, for cars, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and public transportation carriages.
Over the past few years, Flisom has received significant investment from Tata Industries (part of the $100bn Tata group) and a group of Swiss investors. Over the next year, Flisom will be targeting opportunities in the UK, continental Europe and the USA.
“Our support has enabled Flisom to create the best and most efficient flexible solar panels available,” says Tata Industries’ executive director K.R.S. Jamwal. “It will enable solar to be used in ways and in places never possible before, such as in transportation and aerospace, and much more effectively on all roofs,” he adds.
“We can scale up industrial production in a way that hasn’t been possible before for flexible CIGS solar technology,” claims Flisom’s CEO Rahul Budhwar.
“Empa researchers hold the world record for energy conversion efficiency in a CIGS solar cell – and our technology, in turn, forms the core of Flisom’s transformative solar modules,” notes Empa’s CEO professor Gian-Luca Bona. “We are delighted to host the first full-scale Flisom pilot installation on our campus, where it will supply sustainable energy for ‘move’, our demonstration platform for future mobility.”