Yole Développement has announced its report “Thin Film Photovoltaics CIS/CIGS Technology and Market”.
Dr Milan Rosina, Technology & Market Analyst, Photovoltaics at Yole Développement analyzes the different processes, equipment and materials used in the CIS module manufacturing with focus on manufacturing techniques for CIS absorber layer deposition (coevaporation, sputtering, electro deposition, nanoparticle ink printing).
Still unlocked potential for CIS technology
Photovoltaic (PV) modules became a commodity market and numerous PV products based on various PV technologies are commercially available. Although crystalline silicon PV maintains its leading position, CIS (sometimes designed also as CIGS) thin film PV, based on copper-indium-gallium-selenium (sulfur), reveal increased interest due to its unlocked potential for high efficiency and low manufacturing costs. However, much effort is necessary to overcome some barriers related to the complexity of this technology and its manufacturing.
CIS variety provides opportunity for equipment and material suppliers
“In contrary to crystalline silicon PV, which largely profited from the equipment and know-how developed in silicon microelectronic industry, CIS technology approaches are still very dispersed and based on different materials, cell architectures, module design and manufacturing equipment”, explain Dr Milan Rosina, Technology & Market Analyst, Photovoltaics at Yole Développement. This represents many challenges, but also market opportunity for numerous material and equipment suppliers.
Almost every CIS module manufacturer is using different manufacturing approach, often based on a proprietary equipment or process. It is therefore important to understand the advantages and challenges of these approaches in order to determine the possible market value for various materials (metal foil, precursors, encapsulation, moisture barrier film…) and equipment (sputter tool, annealing furnace, wet bench…). Therefore, numerous technologies are analyzed in our report regarding the technology and its manufacturing issues and also in close connection to the possible applications of resulting products. This helps to understand the real market potential of the final product. In fact, different technologies are more or less adapted for manufacturing of diverse products (monolithic rigid modules, rigid modules assembled from cells, flexible modules…), which are suited for various PV applications (rooftop installations, Building-Integrated PV, facades, commercial roofs, large ground-mounted PV power plants…).
Special focus is made on the flexible CIS cells: their low-cost manufacturing potential and application demand.