Nanosolar recently announced that it will be selling and marketing its copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar panels this year. After intensive R&D, the company has reached 16.4% efficiency in the laboratory, closing in on the nearly 20% solar panel efficiency for a CIGS solar panel achieved by the publicly owned and operated National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
Nanosolar’s co-founder, Brian Sager, stated:
“The whole idea here is to buy multiple lines of manufacturing equipment and scale as the market demands. “We’re really only limited by market economics.”
Although details of the amount and type of product that will initially be sold by Nanosolar are unclear, most expect the CIGS solar panels it will sell will have 10-12% efficiency.
The world will be watching. Many place their solar power “chips” on CIGS solar cells with respect to ultimate efficiency and inexpensive manufacturing. While both CIGS and cadmium telluride have theoretical maximum efficiency in the range of 29-33%, CIGS is expected to ultimately prevail in the efficiency race.
With the new release of Nanosolar’s CIGS panels, competition will not be afoot between First Solar (selling panels with close to 11% efficiency and a cost of 87 cents per watt) and Miasole, which sells CIGS cells in the 10-11% efficiency range.
For a glimpse into the near future, here’s a short video showcasing Nanosolar’s roll-to-roll CIGS solar cells: