[Shanghai PV] CIGS PV Cells Spotted at Expo

May 6, 2010
Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics
Sunvim's booth and CIGS PV panels
Sunvim's booth and CIGS PV panels
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Ysolars' flexible CIGS PV cell and its substrate
Ysolars' flexible CIGS PV cell and its substrate
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Mitsuboshi Diamond Industrial's manufacturing equipment for patterning and cutting thin-film PV cells
Mitsuboshi Diamond Industrial's manufacturing equipment for patterning and cutting thin-film PV cells
[Click to enlarge image]

Some CIGS (Culn-GaSe) photovoltaic (PV) cells and manufacturing equipment for CIGS PV cells were showcased at the SNEC 4th (2010) International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Exhibition, which is taking place from May 5 to 7, 2010, in Shanghai, China.

Shandong Sunvim Solar Technology Co Ltd (Sunvim), which is based in Shandong Province, China, developed a PV panel whose main components are copper (Cu), indium (In), gallium (Ga), selenium (Se) and sulfur (S). The panel measures 1,206 x 506 x 30mm and has a module conversion efficiency of about 8.8%.

"We will start producing the panel with an annual production volume of 30MW in the near future," Sunvim said. "And we aims to increase it to 240MW in the future."

On the other hand, Suzhou GroupSat Solar Technologies Co Ltd (Ysolars) showcased a flexible CIGS PV cell. Using a metal foil for its substrate, the cell can be folded like thin paper.

The PV cell has already been commercialized. When the module size is 175 x 375mm, its module conversion efficiency is 7.6% at the maximum.

"We are now producing the cell with an annual production volume of 12MW," Ysolars said. "But we are planning to increase it to 24MW in 2011. At first, we will produce the cell for the Chinese market while promoting its use for applications where flexibility is an advantage."

There are two major production methods for CIGS PV cells: selenidation method and co-evaporation method. And Ysolars employed the latter. In September 2009, Ysolars announced that it would introduce Veeco Instruments Inc's coating equipment for CIGS PV cells (Veeco's press release). So, it seems that Ysolars is using Veeco's equipment to produce the PV cell.

As for Japanese makers, Mitsuboshi Diamond Industrial Co Ltd (MDI) exhibited its manufacturing equipment for CIGS PV cells. Specifically, it is equipment for patterning and cutting thin-film PV cells including CIGS cells. The company has been researching CIGS PV cells since 2007 in collaboration with Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).


Correction Notice: Because of a reporting error, we incorrectly stated that Veeco Instruments Inc invested in Ysolars.