Solar PV Thin Film ( Solar Thermal Magazine ) – TSMC Solar today announced the engagement of Dr. Rommel Noufi in a long-term consulting capacity, to augment its CIGS Thin Film R&D program. TMSC Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of Taiwan based TSMC, the world’s first and largest semiconductor foundry.
Dr. Noufi is a 33-year veteran of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where he was Principal Scientist and lead the team driving CIGS and CdTe cell research. He has authored over 190 publications and has 8 patents.
The term “Thin film solar panels” refers to the fact that these types of solar panels use a much thinner level of photovoltaic material then mono-crystalline or multi-crystalline solar panels. Thin film solar cells consist of layers of active materials about 10 nm thick compared with 200- to 300-nm layers for crystalline-silicon cells.
Wikipedia actually gives a very good definition of CIGS:
Copper indium gallium selenide (CuInxGa1-xSe2 or CIGS) is a direct bandgap semiconductor useful for the manufacture of solar cells. The CIGS absorber is deposited on a glass or plastic backing, along with electrodes on the front and back to collect current. Because the material has a high absorption coefficient and strongly absorbs sunlight, a much thinner film is required than of other semiconductor materials. Devices made with CIGS belong to the thin-film category of photovoltaics (PV).
TSMC Solar has a track record of R&D achievement, having produced a TUV-SUD verified, 15.7% efficient module with production equipment on its production line in mid-2013. The company is currently expanding its capacity from 40MW to reach 120MW in Q4 of this year.
Commenting on the decision to engage Dr. Noufi, TSMC Solar President Ying-Chen Chao said, “Dr. Noufi played a key role in the development of CIGS as a leading photovoltaic material. The addition of his deep CIGS experience to our R&D effort puts us on solid footing to maintain our rapid improvement of module efficiency over the next several years.”
Dr. Noufi sees great potential for CIGS efficiency improvements, “CIGS efficiencies in the lab have reached 20.9%, with a clear path to achieving 23%. With its strong R&D, manufacturing and equipment engineering skill set TSMC Solar is uniquely equipped to develop this potential and bring it into production.”
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.