Nanosolar releases new printed CIGS efficiency benchmarks

April 07, 2011 // By Paul Buckley
Thin film solar innovation leader Nanosolar, Inc. has revealed new efficiency benchmarks of 11.6 percent for the Nanosolar Utility Panel and 13.9 percent for its printed CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenium) solar cells, as measured by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (ISE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The company has also announced an agreement for panel warranty insurance with Munich Re, and membership in European panel recycling organization PV Cycle.

"Our mission is to produce the most cost efficient solar power possible," said Geoff Tate, CEO of Nanosolar, Inc. "We are doing this through our printed CIGS technology, innovative panel design and sound manufacturing decisions that lower panel costs in tandem with balance of system costs." Nanosolar prints its proprietary CIGS and nanoparticle inks directly onto low-cost aluminum foil, both faster and more cost-effectively than with traditional high-vacuum manufacturing equipment. Both NREL and ISE recently measured these solar cells at slightly below 14 percent efficiency.      

Using the latest in robotic manufacturing practices, Nanosolar assembles these electrically-matched, all-back-contact thin film solar cells into uniform, high quality solar panels using its efficient and cost-effective metal wrap through process at assembly factories that can be located at the point of panel demand.      

Nanosolar will reach an annual manufacturing capacity of 115 megawatts by autumn 2011. Nanosolar is currently shipping 10 percent efficient, 200 W panels in volume with plans to reach 11 percent and 12 percent efficiencies in volume within the next 12 months.      

The Nanosolar Utility Panel's design reduces mounting hardware costs, wiring cable volume, and required installation labor in multi-megawatt installations.      

The Nanosolar Utility Panel has two pieces of durable, tempered glass versus one tempered glass sheet for most thin film panels, uses two edge connectors as opposed to a standard junction box, and produces more power and operates at a far lower voltage than standard thin film panels. In addition, it is the first solar panel to be certified by TUV to operate at up to 1500 system volts. These unique system design features allow for balance of systems cost savings of up to 30 percent over competing thin film solar panels in utility-scale power plants.      

Nanosolar recently signed a panel warranty insurance policy with Munich Re in preparation for future multi-megawatt installations and panel bankability. The panel warranty insurance policy covers Nanosolar's 2011 factory

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