HelioVolt announced today the company’s first commercial modules have completed rigorous accelerated lifetime testing, with results showing degradation rates one to two orders of magnitude lower than typical module performance required to pass UL and IEC certification.
The next generation thin film photovoltaics are based on HelioVolt’s proprietary CIGS manufacturing process designed to produce high efficiency modules. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently confirmed the company’s conversion efficiency of 11.8% for its monolithically integrated 1.2 x 0.6 meter module size (current HelioVolt cell efficiencies range between 14 - 15%).
HelioVolt said it has invested considerable resources to provide industry-leading module reliability and field performance. The products demonstrate a new benchmark required to maximize energy generation over the module’s lifetime, providing the lowest possible ¢/kWh energy cost.
“First Solar has shown that thin-film modules can deliver utility scale solar power at a compelling cost,” said Jim Flanary, HelioVolt’s CEO and former First Solar COO. “As the next generation of monolithic thin film products enters the market, we need to continue to build on the high efficiency and low-cost promise of CIGS and drive towards higher field performance and higher reliability standards.”
In addition to the rigorous accelerated lifetime testing that HelioVolt modules undergo, the company has invested in a rooftop test site at its factory in Austin, which serves as a model for in-the-field performance. The outdoor testing facility compares the performance of traditional multi-crystalline silicon modules alongside state-of-the-art thin film modules from a variety of manufacturers. Monitoring module electrical and physical characteristics in step with irradiance, ambient temperatures and humidity, HelioVolt has been tracking its module performance against its competition.
The test site is a demonstration of HelioVolt’s diligence to ensure delivery of reliable, competitive thin film modules. The data is available to the company’s partners for installation and solar project financial planning purposes. Company representatives will be presenting additional company and product updates at SPIE’s Optoelectronic Integrated Circuits XIII Conference Jan. 26-27 and Photon’s Thin Film Conference on Feb. 16th.