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news digest ♦ Solar


TSMC Solar CIGS module reaches 15.1 percent efficiency


The firm says this module sets a new world record for monolithic thin-film module efficiency. It was produced using the current manufacturing equipment and materials at the company’s manufacturing facility in Taichung, Taiwan


TSMC Solar has announced TUV SUD and UL have confirmed that its commercial-sized (1.09 m2) latest CIGS module has achieved 15.1 percent module total area efficiency.


“In just one year our process technology has made great progress. Our champion modules now have comparable module efficiency to mainstream multi-crystalline silicon modules, demonstrating TSMC Solar’s ability to realise the high-efficiency potential of our CIGS technology. Our technology’s superior competitiveness comes from its high efficiency, excellent high temperature performance and intrinsic cost structure advantages,” says Ying-Chen Chao, President of TSMC Solar.


Record-breaking antireflection coating on


solar cells A new development could significantly improve the performance of solar cells, LEDs and photodetectors


A team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Magnolia Solar, Inc. and Pohang University of Science and Technology have demonstrated a novel antireflection (AR) coating.


It beats the widely employed double-layer AR (DLAR) coating on state-of-the-art triple-junction solar cells. The scientists demonstrated that the solar cells investigated gain over 4 percent in efficiency when replacing the industry- standard DLAR with an optimised four-layer AR coating.


Considering that the solar spectrum is an intrinsically broadband spectrum, such broadband characteristics of the AR coating are undoubtedly beneficial for high power conversion efficiency.


TSMC Solar S-Fab production line, located in Taichung, Taiwan


“Customers appreciate our ability to continuously improve module efficiency. In addition, TS CIGS Series modules deliver up to 5 percent additional energy yield over crystalline silicon in high temperature regions.” points out Stephen McKenery, TSMC Solar Worldwide Sales Head.


TSMC’s solar business was founded in May 2009 and is headquartered in Taichung, Taiwan.


What’s more, omnidirectional AR characteristics have become important for the rapidly expanding terrestrial application of solar cells. This is because solar irradiance in terrestrial applications usually has a large range of incident angles for non-tracking solar cells.


Both broadband and omnidirectional AR characteristics are attainable by four-layer AR coatings, as demonstrated by the RPI-led team.


RPI says that the excellent broadband and omnidirectional AR characteristics of the four-layer AR coating are achieved through solving the problem of refractive index matching at multiple layer interfaces.


By using tailored and low-refractive index nanoporous silica layers, the team has greatly reduced the refractive index contrast at the semiconductor / AR coating / air interfaces.


Through a multilayer design methodology powered by a genetic algorithm optimisation, favourable antireflective properties over a specified wavelength range and angle-of-incidence range were found.


Two porous layers of the four-layer AR coating were fabricated by oblique-angle deposition of silica thereby resulting in films with refractive indices of 1.32 and 1.11. This is less than the refractive index of silica. The other two layers are dense and were fabricated by co-deposition of silica / titania using


108 www.compoundsemiconductor.net March 2013


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