ZSW, First Solar partner to collaborate on thin-film PV

Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and First Solar have agreed to work together to develop thin-film PV technologies on a gigawatt scale.

Stuttgart-based research institute ZSW and US thin-film specialist First Solar have announced a strategic partnership focused on the advancement of thin-film solar.

ZSW said the partnership will focus on performance and the potential to develop and optimize all thin-film tandem technologies on a gigawatt scale. It added that tandem solar cells are “widely recognized as the next generation of photovoltaics,” and as every tandem contains at least one layer of thin-film solar cells, their development is “of utmost importance to the next generation of solar technologies.”

The two parties said that the overall aim of the research partnership is to “explore opportunities to make thin-film modules more efficient by a better use of the solar spectrum.” Other potential areas of research are set to include the optical adaption of stacked cells and specialized characterization techniques.

ZSW researchers have been working on copper, indium, gallium and diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology for decades, including more than 10 years of scaling robust processes for rigid and flexible substrates. First Solar’s thin film PV modules, developed out of labs in California and Ohio, are considered a lower-carbon alternative to conventional crystalline silicon PV panels. 

First Solar expanded its operations into Europe following the acquisition of Swedish perovskite specialist Evolar, turning its Uppsala laboratory into First Solar’s European Technology Centre. The facility presented a CIGS solar cell with a world record efficiency of 23.64% in March.

Earlier this year, an economic analysis of the company predicted that First Solar could have a $5 billion impact on the US economy by 2026.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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