Already, several technologies of polycrystalline thin‐film photovoltaic materials have achieved certified record small‐cell power conversion efficiencies exceeding 22%. They are CdTe, Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 (CIGS), and metal halide perovskite (PSC), each named after the light-absorbing semiconductor material. Thin-film solar cells and modules require very little active material due to their very high absorption coefficient. Efficient production methods with low materials waste, moderate temperatures, attractive cost structures, and favorable energy payback times will play a strong role in market development as thin-film technologies reach full maturity, including mass production and the standardization of production machineries. In fact, the first two technologies have already been developed up to the industrial scale with a market share of several GW. In this review article, we outline similarities and differences between these high‐efficiency thin‐film technologies from both the materials and the industrial point of view. We address the materials characteristics and device concepts for each technology, including a description of recent developments that have led to very high efficiency achievements. We provide an overview of the CIGS industry players and their current status. The newcomer PSC has demonstrated its potential in the laboratory, and initial efforts in industrial production are underway. A large number of laboratories are experimenting through a wide range of options in order to optimize not only the efficiency but also stability, environmental aspects, and manufacturability of PSC. Its high efficiency and its high bandgap make PSC particularly attractive for tandem applications. An overview of all these topics is included here along with a list of materials configurations.
Thin‐film solar cells exceeding 22% solar cell efficiency: An overview on CdTe-, Cu(In,Ga)Se2-, and perovskite-based materials
Michael Powalla, Stefan Paetel, Erik Ahlswede, Roland Wuerz, Cordula D. Wessendorf, Theresa Magorian Friedlmeier; Thin‐film solar cells exceeding 22% solar cell efficiency: An overview on CdTe-, Cu(In,Ga)Se2-, and perovskite-based materials. Appl. Phys. Rev. 1 December 2018; 5 (4): 041602. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5061809
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