IBM uses abundant materials to make highly efficient thin film solar cells

While CIGS solar panels are a common sight around the world, researchers over the globe are thinking about replacing the materials, while maintaining energy conversion efficiency, so that there are no raw material constraints, if solar volumes are increased. Researchers at IBM have made a significant progress in replacing the materials, by developing innovative think film solar cells from commonly found materials.

The research group has come up with solar panels made from a combination of copper, zinc, tin and selenium (CZTS), which shows a high level of efficiency. The CZTS solar cells are able to convert about 11.1 percent of incident sunlight into electricity. The research team wants to hit an efficiency of 12 percent, which is what conventionally available CIGS solar panels produce.

The team believes that replacing the elements of CIGS solar panels with CZTS, could help in the generation of about 500 gigawatts of solar power, which is much more than what CIGS is currently able to produce. IBM wants to match the efficiency of CZTS with CIGS within five years, during which the team will be working with solar companies such as Solar Frontier, to enhance the efficiency.

Via: Technology Review

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