Project: Sequential, high Uniformity, Cost Competitive Elemental Selenization and Sulphurization for CIGSSe2

Acronym SUCCESS (Reference Number: JTC-2_2019_040)
Duration 01/09/2019 - 03/08/2022
Project Topic Thin-film photovoltaic CIGS technology has seen considerable growth of manufacturing capacity in recent years. The environmental impact, especially the CO2 footprint of CIGS thin-film panels shows great advantages compared to other solar technologies. CIGS panels show good performance in diffuse light conditions and at high temperatures, and are tolerant to partial shading. Additionally, the aesthetic qualities and the possibility of custom colors makes CIGS a superior PV technology for the application in building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), e.g. in solar façades. The fabrication process of the CIGS semiconductor layer is the key driver for both, the further increase of efficiency, and the reduction of manufacturing cost of CIGS solar modules. Based on the European energy research program SOLAR-ERA.NET, the solar companies Smit Thermal Solutions and AVANCIS started a European collaboration with the leading research institutes Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), CNRS (Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel, Nantes) and TNO/Solliance with the new project ‘Sequential, High Uniformity, Cost Competitive Elemental Selenization and Sulfurization for CIGSSe2’, called SUCCESS. The aim of SUCCESS is the combination of a further cost-optimized CIGS processing and the high efficiencies reached with heavy alkali post-deposition treatment (PDT). An efficiency of more than 20% is finally targeted for 30x30cm2 AVANCIS’ modules. The non-vacuum Smit Thermal Solutions in-line selenization equipment provides a high degree of freedom in the CIGS semiconductor fabrication enabling further cost reduction at high efficiency levels. Using Smit Thermal Solutions prototype equipment, notable efficiencies have already been reached by TNO/Solliance and HZB at cell level. As first steps in scaling-up, the homogeneity of the selenization process in the Smit Thermal Solutions equipment will be improved and it will be adapted for the 30x30cm2 AVANCIS R&D platform. During the last three years, the conversion efficiency of CIGS record cells has been increased from 20.5% to 23.35% by using controlled PDT of the absorber layer with heavy alkali metals. Typically, these records are achieved with small cells measuring 1x1cm². The consortium aims to systematically investigate the impact of the heavy alkali doping in the absorber formation process as well as by PDT of the absorber and to ultimately apply this technology to large-area module production processes with a Cd-free buffer process. SUCCESS is a project under the SOLAR ERA.NET Cofund 2 by PTJ (Germany), RVO (Netherlands) and ANR (France). SOLAR ERA.NET is supported by the European Commission within the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation HORIZON 2020 (Cofund ERA-NET Action No 786483).
Network Solar Cofund 2
Call Solar Cofund 2 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 TNO Solliance Coordinator Netherlands
2 Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH EE-IP Partner Germany
3 CNRS-IMN (Institut des Materiaux Jean Rouxel, UMR6502) Physics Partner France
4 Smit Thermal Solutions BV Partner Netherlands
5 AVANCIS GmbH R&D Partner Germany