CIS – Black gold for supplying tomorrow’s energy

CIS in nature and in a solar module:

Chalcopyrite mineral and electron-microscopic image of a thin film.

The CIS abbreviation stands for a group of compound semiconductors that consist of the elements copper, indium or gallium as well as sulphur or selenium. These types of compounds occur in nature as mineral ore known as chalcopyrite. For thin-film solar cells, a thin film consisting of millions of minute crystallites is used that is only around two thousandth of a millimetre thick. It is dark black and is the secret behind the elegant design of Soltecture’s solar modules.

Sustainability through thin-film technology: 
Efficient use of materials and energy

Globally, increasingly more solar power companies are relying on thin-film technology and are following the trend set by pioneering companies such as Soltecture a decade ago. Thin-film technology dramatically reduces the need for expensive semiconductor material – instead of 500 grams of silicon per square metre, just five grams of CIS are used. This avoids the multi-stage manufacturing process required for conventional silicon-based modules and makes a third of the production steps redundant. Last but not least, this halves the energy requirements in the module production. Thin-film technology is thus helping to reduce the production costs for modules.

CIS – A material family in the thin-film segment

CIS can be adapted and changes its properties in accordance with its composition. Soltecture uses two types: copper indium gallium sulphide (CIGS), chemical formula: Cu(In,Ga)S2; and copper indium gallium selenium (CIGSe), chemical formula: Cu(In,Ga)Se2. Soltecture has optimised the CIGS modules to achieve maximum tolerance to heat and cost-effective production and has optimised the CIGSe modules to achieve maximum efficiency. Of all the materials that can be used for thin-film solar modules, CIGSe achieves the highest efficiencies. More ...


If you would like to know more about how CIS modules work, how electricity is produced from sunlight and the purpose of the pinstripes, click here.