I do like flexible solar panels, because they can be easily used to generate electricity.
A new record in efficiency has been established by scientist at Empa, which is a Swisss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. The new record is 18.7 % of efficiency, which beats the previous record which has been 17.6%.
Every step, even small improvement counts, since on large scale this can bring much more productive installations.
The Flexible Solar panels based on CIGS solar cells – ( Copper indium gallium selenide ) – are much cheaper, and so much affordable, but they’re still not produced on large scale. Except companies like Nanosolar.
A quick quote from the source (Science Daily):
The measurements have been independently certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany.
It’s all about money. To make solar electricity affordable on a large scale, scientists and engineers worldwide have long been trying to develop a low-cost solar cell, which is highly efficient, easy to manufacture and has high throughput. Now a team at Empa’s Laboratory for Thin Film and Photovoltaics, led by Ayodhya N. Tiwari, has made a major step forward. “The new record value for flexible CIGS solar cells of 18.7% nearly closes the “efficiency gap” to solar cells based on polycrystalline silicon (Si) wafers or CIGS thin film cells on glass,” says Tiwari. He is convinced that “flexible and lightweight CIGS solar cells with efficiencies comparable to the “best-in-class” will have excellent potential to bring about a paradigm shift and to enable low-cost solar electricity in the near future.”
The Efficiency of CIGS stays still low. In fact with record CIGS efficiency at just below 20% for several years, new trends of CIGS research has been focussed on lower-cost deposition methods as an alternative to expensive vacuum processes. This new research progressed quickly and efficiencies of 10%–15% have been achieved by many teams.