Perspectives on the Status and Future of CIGS Photovoltaic Technology: R&D and Manufacturing

Apr 1

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Schiciano Auditorium Side A


Dr. Rommel Noufi, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Thin-film photovoltaic modules of Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) and CdTe have the potential to reach cost-effective PV-generated electricity. These technologies have transitioned from the laboratory to the market place. Conversion efficiencies of laboratory solar cells and commercial modules of both technologies are approaching 22% and 15%, respectively. Higher efficiencies from the laboratory and from the manufacturing line are only a matter of time. Long-term stability has been demonstrated for both technologies; however, some failures in the field have also been observed, emphasizing the critical need for understanding degradation mechanisms and packaging options.  In this talk I will look back at technical highlights of both technologies, discuss the status of R&D and manufacturing, and address the questions of why the potential of the CIGS technology has not been fully tapped, and why so many companies struggled and most went out of business?

Dr. Rommel Noufi, recently retired from NREL (Nov. 2013), served as a Principle Scientist and Group Manager for Thin Film Photovoltaics at the National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  He led a world-class R&D team that has held record Cu(In,Ga)Se2 and CdTe solar cell efficiencies for over 16 years.  Dr. Noufi is a recognized leader in cooperative research between industry, universities, and government, and has a voice in shaping the US national program on photovoltaics development.  In 2008, he took a two-year leave of absence to serve as the VP of R&D for Solopower, a Silicon Valley start-up company that manufactures flexible CIGS solar panels.  Prior to joining NREL, Dr. Noufi received his PhD in Analytical/Physical Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin in 1978 and served three years as a senior scientist at Rockwell International Science Center in Thousand Oaks, CA.  He is a recipient of the inaugural Distinguished Innovator Award, an Outstanding Achievement Award, and the H.M. Hubbard Award at NREL for outstanding leadership in science and technology management.  His work was a Popular Science pick for “Best of What’s New in Science and Technology”.  He has over 220 publications in interdisciplinary fields, and is the inventor of 9 patents, of which 6 are licensed to industry.  Since 1998, he has the 3rd highest impact citations worldwide in the field of Energy and Fuels according to Science Watch.


Michele Thompson