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Thin-film technology will replace crystalline silicon into the mainstream

- Sep 06, 2017 -

In June this year, the National Energy Administration, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the National Certification and Accreditation Administration jointly issued the Opinions on Promoting the Application and Industrial Upgrading of Advanced Photovoltaic Technology. "Opinions" proposed to improve the market access standards for photovoltaic products, the implementation of "leader" program to guide the progress of photovoltaic technology and industrial upgrading.


In experts’ eyes, thin film represents the development trend of photovoltaic industry. Many scholars believe that polysilicon solar cells will eventually be eliminated, and replaced by CIGS and other thin-film solar cells. By using the leverage function of market to accelerate the elimination of poor production capacity is also the purpose that “opinions” improve the market access threshold.


Several problems are still existing, influencing the development of photovoltaic industry. The first problem is simply judging the merits of the technology by the photoelectric conversion efficiency. Different technical routes should be applied to different application scenarios. For example, gallium arsenide technology with a photoelectric conversion rate of 30% is too costly to apply only to specific areas and is not suitable for civil or mass production. Therefore, its much more proper and comprehensive to evaluate the technology according to the conversion rate, manufacturing costs, service time and other factors.


Second, when judging different technical routes, its capability of sustainable development should be considered as well. The CIGS thin-film solar cell are of ideal conversion efficiency and able to achieve the world-class leading level if its conversion rate between 14% and 16% can be realized. Besides, this kind of solar cells has long service life, and has stronger power generation capacity than silicon at the same power conditions. From the perspective of the product's full life cycle, crystalline silicon products are energy-consuming and environmentally polluting while CIGS cells are environmental and sustainable.


CIGS is a representative of the future direction of the development of technology. Although it only accounts for a small market share at the moment, it’s at a stage different from polysilicon and needs some appropriate support of the government.


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