Milestones in the technological development

July 2011: TÜV certifies CIGSe-Modules

The solar module manufacturer Soltecture has reached worldwide peak results with its framed thin-film modules based on CIGSe semiconductors. TÜV Rheinland officially confirmed this through the certification based on IEC 61646. Currently the CIGSe modules, which are carried under the product name “Linion F”, reach a peak efficiency of 13,2%.

December 2010: New record efficiency of 12.6%

Soltecture’s technologies increase the peak efficiency of CIGSe modules to 12.6% across an aperture area of 0.75 m2 and 11.6% across the entire module surface.

July 2010: Market launch of innovative laminate clamps

The fixing clamp – a seemingly banal component – ensures the safety and durability of solar power systems made of frameless laminate modules. Soltecture’s patent-protected innovation, which was optimised using simulations with finite element methods and field tests, sets new standards. You can find out more about this product here.

July 2010: Soltecture showcases first CIGSe prototypes with 11.6% efficiencies

Soltecture presents the first prototypes from its new product line, for which selenium-based CIS – ‘CIGSe’ – is used. The output determined by TÜV-Rheinland amounts to 86.8 W with a module surface area of 1.25 m x 0.65 m. The aperture efficiency is approximately 11.6% and the efficiency for the entire module surface area is 10.7%.You can find out more here (PDF).

October 2009: Inauguration of the 35 MW ‘CIS Line’ factory

Following a construction period of just 15 months, Europe’s most modern manufacturing facility for mass-producing CIS modules is completed. The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, officially opens the plant. The factory offers Soltecture’s technologists maximum flexibility: modules from sulphur-based CIGS and selenium-based CIGSe can be produced in parallel. Cutting edge measurement technology in the R&D laboratory enables precise analysis of thin films and the module’s long-term and operational behaviour can be tested in the module test centre.

June 2009: Soltecture develops frameless solar facade

The new cassette modules can be hung on the building structure like conventional cassette cladding. In contrast to conventional facade-integrated solar power systems, the building envelope consists of a uniform glass facade whose elegant appearance is not disrupted by frames. The system has been approved by the Berlin building authorities for use on facades with heights greater than 12 m. You can find out more here.

2009: New world record set for laboratory solar cells from sulphur-based CIGS

Soltecture’s research partner, the Helmholtz Centre Berlin, increases the efficiency of sulphur-based CIGS solar cells to 13%. The new peak value is achieved by replacing part of the indium in CuInS2 with gallium – the ‘CIGS’ technology is born. Soltecture launches its development project for developing a corresponding production process.

Reference: S. Merdes, R. Klenk et al., Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells (2010), doi:10.1016/j.solmat. 2010.11.003

July 2008: Pilot production achieves 80% yields

After three years of continual improvements, Soltecture’s pilot production reaches full capacity (3 MW/a). 80% of the processed glass substrates are transformed into modules and sold. The innovative technology therefore becomes mature enough to persuade international investors to invest €85 million in developing a mass production facility.

July 2007: 5-minute throughput rate for CIS coating

Soltecture develops a new process for CuInS2 coating with a throughput time of just 5 minutes (previously 15 minutes). Competitors in the CIS field take between 10 and 30 minutes.

October: 2006 Soltecture achieves new world record for large-scale CuInS2 modules

Soltecture increases the efficiency of its sulphur-based CuInS2 modules to 8% (aperture) and achieves a 60 W module output (gallium-free CIS).

2006: World’s first roof-integrated module based on CIS

Soltecture develops the first roof-integrated module based on CIS and presents a demonstration project in France (Cythelia). You can find out more on our product page. .

2005: Market launch

Soltecture is the world’s first module manufacturer to launch sulphur-based CuInS2 modules on the market. First sales to renowned German system providers IBC Solar and Krannich Solartechnik.

December 2004: World premiere of a sulphur-based CIS module

Soltecture is the world’s first company to successfully manufacture a sulphur-based CuInS2 module in a commercial format.

April 2003: Soltecture starts construction of pilot production plant

Soltecture is the first company to utilise sulphur-based CIS on an industrial scale and begins construction of a factory for the pilot production. The first machines are delivered at the end of 2003.

2002: First 10% mini-module from CuInS2

HMI prepares first module made from sulphur-based CuInS2. The efficiency on a surface area of 16 cm² achieves 10% (gallium-free CIS).

Reference: J. Klaer et al. / Thin Solid Films 431 –432 (2003) 534–537

(Referenz: J. Klaer et al. / Thin Solid Films 431 –432 (2003) 534–537)

2001: Highly productive sulphur process increases efficiency of laboratory cells to 11.4%

Scientists at the HMI establish a highly productive process for sulphur-based CuInS2 solar cells – the model for Soltecture’s production process for CuInS2 solar modules – and increase the peak efficiency to 11.4% (gallium-free CIS).

Reference: K. Siemer et al., Solar Energy Mat. & Solar Cells 67 (2001) 159-166(Referenz: K. Siemer et al., Solar Energy Mat. & Solar Cells 67 (2001) 159-166)

1993: First 10% laboratory solar cell made from CuInS2

At the Hahn-Meitner Institute (HMI – which is now called the Helmholtz Centre Berlin), Roland Scheer and colleagues succeed in manufacturing the first sulphur-based CuInS2 solar cells with an efficiency of 10% (gallium-free CIS).

Reference: Scheer et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 63 (1993) 3294-6

Milestones in the technological development.

10 years of Soltecture, 20 years of CIS development: Find out more about the milestones achieved in developing our technology.