LONDON Ė TSMC Solar Ltd. (Taichung, Taiwan) has announced that it has made solar conversion modules based on copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) technology with an efficiency of 14.2 percent. The modules were made using its R&D and pilot line inside TSMCs' wafer fab in Taichung.
The panels have been entered into the UL and IEC certification process and are expected to be available for sale early in 2013, TSMC Solar said.
"We are confident that our focus on technology improvement will enable us to continue driving efficiencies significantly higher for the next few years," said Ying-Chen Chao, president of TSMC Solar, in a statement.
Since commencing customer shipments in April this year, TSMC modules have been sold to customers in Germany, Italy, USA, China and India.
Theoretical conversion eff. limit for CIGS thin film, as predicted by NREL of DOE ( Boulder, CO ), is as high as 18 % ( as compared to 24 % for single xtal Si ) but only up to 16 % has been demonstrated so far in lab samples.
Because it has 4 components and separates into many quasi-stable phases depending on processing, CIGS thin film is a notoriously difficult material to control and shows variation in conversion eff. Many US companies have been struggling with this for years.
What I would like to know is what sort of production rate and yield TSMC is managing to get at their Pilot Line.
Otherwise this report is just PR flak.