Process Development for CIGS-Based Thin Film Photovoltaic Modules: Phase II Technical Report

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


As a technology partner with NREL, Global Solar Energy (GSE) has initiated an extensive and systematic plan to accelerate the commercialization of thin-film photovoltaics (PV) based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS). The distinguishing feature of the GSE manufacturing process is the exclusive use of lightweight, flexible substrates. GSE has developed the technology to fabricate CIGSphotovoltaics on both stainless-steel and polymer substrates. CIGS deposited on flexible substrates can be fabricated into either flexible or rigid modules. Low-cost, rigid PV panels for remote power, bulk/utility, telecommunication, and rooftop applications have been produced by affixing the flexible substrate to an inexpensive rigid panel by lamination or adhesive. Stainless-steel-based PVmodules are fabricated by a novel interconnect method that avoids the use of wires or foils and soldered connections. In the case of polymer-based PV modules, the continuous roll is not sectioned into individual panels until the module buss and power leads are attached. Roll-to-roll vacuum deposition has several advantages that translate directly to reduced capital costs, greater productivity,improved yield, greater reliability, lower maintenance, and a larger volume of PV material. In combination with roll-to-roll processing, GSE has developed evaporation deposition operations that enable low-cost and high-efficiency CIGS modules. The CIGS deposition process relies heavily on effusion source technology developed at GSE, and solving numerous problems was an integral part of thesource development effort. Cell interconnection for thin-film CIGS modules on a polyimide substrate presents a considerable challenge.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages50
StatePublished - 2000

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-520-29227


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