Oerlikon Solar, the world's leading supplier of thin film silicon photovoltaic (PV) production equipment, today announced that it has achieved a new stabilized record efficiency level for amorphous silicon (a-Si) single junction PV cells. Recent test results reconfirmed and approved by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) show efficiencies of more than 10 percent power conversion. These results set a new world record for amorphous thin film silicon PV technology. The R+D group of Oerlikon Solar in Neuchâtel was able to consistently reproduce cells with similar record efficiencies, demonstrating a stable and repeatable process.
"This achievement impressively demonstrates Oerlikon Solar's unique ability to rapidly drive thin film silicon PV technology towards grid parity," said Jeannine Sargent, chief executive officer of Oerlikon Solar. High cell efficiencies on amorphous silicon are a key driver for both, amorphIHIGH PERFORMANCE and proprietary Micromorph PV technology.
The excellent performance of the record cells demonstrates the advantage of Oerlikon Solar's thin film silicon PV technology, once more verifying the company's comprehensive R&D roadmap. Oerlikon Solar's advanced deposition equipment technology and its vast process know-how result in an optimized cell design that enables the achievement of higher conversion efficiencies. The recent success on a-Si cell efficiency serves as basis to achieve Micromorph production modules at stabilized efficiencies of 10% or more.
Leading R&D and fastest time to market
Oerlikon Solar is the clear technology and market leader in the field of thin film silicon PV technology, investing significantly in research and development efforts. This record is the latest result of Oerlikon Solar's ongoing development program and reinforces its role as a technology and market leader.
"We successfully implemented several innovative modifications of key processes, leading to this new record in stabilized cell efficiency which presents a historic milestone for amorphous silicon technology," said Dr. Johannes Meier, CTO Thin Film at Oerlikon Solar: "We are confident that our ability to repeatedly achieve record results can be transferred into mass production soon."
Thin film silicon solar offers cost advantages over traditional crystalline silicon and is demonstrating increasingly impressive efficiency gains. Oerlikon Solar occupies a unique position in this rapidly growing market. To date, the company has supplied manufacturing facilities with a total capacity of over 450 megawatts, and has established a strong execution track record, with each of its customers achieving their technology and commercialization milestones on time. By the end of 2010 the company aims to launch the first PV module production lines that are price competitive compared to conventional energy sources in suitable regions.
"Just one more milestone in Oerlikon Solar's mission to make solar power economically viable."