Solar Frontier Sets New Efficiency Record in Thin-Film CIS Technology

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Solar Frontier announced today that it has achieved 17.2% aperture area efficiency on a 30x30cm CIS-based photovoltaic submodule, according to in-house measurements.


This new world record for thin-film CIS technology was accomplished at Solar Frontier’s dedicated research laboratory in Atsugi, Japan, a cornerstone of the company’s integrated research and production framework, in cooperation with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

“This efficiency achievement marks a major milestone on the road toward equaling or surpassing the performance of polycrystalline silicon cells with mass-production CIS modules,” said Satoru Kuriyagawa, Chief Technology Officer at Solar Frontier. “Solar Frontier’s Atsugi Research Centre is one of the most advanced solar R&D labs in the world and the work done here is the foundation on which our products are built. We constantly apply the technological advances made in Atsugi to mass production through our integrated research and production framework, which includes a pilot plant equipped with the machines on which our gigawatt-scale Kunitomi plant’s machinery is based. As we improve conversion efficiency in our labs, these achievements will be applied to our production modules so we can continue to provide our customers with ever higher performance thin-film CIS modules.”

The new record surpasses Solar Frontier’s previous achievement of 16.3% set in September, 2010. Details of the 17.2% achievement will be made available at the 37th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, to be held June 19-24, 2011 at the Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington.

Solar Frontier’s next-generation modules are currently manufactured at the Kunitomi plant, which started commercial production in February 2011.

About Solar Frontier

Solar Frontier, a 100% subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., established the world’s first gigawatt-scale CIS module factory in 2011 with a mission to create the most economical, ecological solar energy solutions in the world, on the world’s largest scale. Solar Frontier’s proprietary CIS technology, denoting key ingredients copper, indium, and selenium (in addition to gallium and sulfur), has the best overall potential to set the world’s most enduring standard for solar energy. This is based on our legacy of work in solar technology since the 1970s, the priority focus our laboratories have given to CIS since 1993, and our success in large scale CIS commercialization since 2007. The critical factors that combine to make CIS the overall economical and ecological leader include high efficiency modules and production processes as well as superior reliability, stability, sustainability, non-toxicity, and lower overall energy consumption in manufacturing to yield a faster energy payback time. These factors at gigawatt scale enable Solar Frontier to meet worldwide demand for the new standard in affordable solar panel performance. Visit for more information.

Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K.

Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has roots dating back more than 100 years in the downstream energy business.

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