CIGS tech not to blame for loss making ventures

By Editor


After Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) announced its decision to exit solar module manufacturing, Eric Wesoff, the editor-in-chief of Greentech Media, published an analysis.

Wesoff focused on Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) system of module manufacture and the business failures investors in the technology have undergone.

According to the analysis, venture capital investment in shuttered CIGS firms exceeds $2 billion.

Wesoff has included a list of players in the CIGS module manufacturing business and about 10 of the 19 names listed are no longer in business or are struggling to survive.

Experts in the business whom Wesoff has quoted, however, believe the businesses that have failed were less focused on the manufacturing process.

According to Brad Mattson, CEO of Siva Power, “The challenge with CIGS” wasn’t the science but “just process speed and control”. “TSMC is a great company. The problem wasn’t with its effort, but with the technology licensed from Stion. The 2-step CIGS process is inherently slower and lower efficiency than the co-evaporation process pioneered by NREL (and others) and which holds all the world records for efficiency,” he told Greentech Media.

The experts have reiterated that the industry has failed to follow the well-established basics with the science. The use of equipment applicable to a two-step, indirect formation process makes production unviable.

“Industry should have focused on is the equipment to enable high speed, large area coevaporation, the best known process. Industry turned CIGS into a science project where no science was required. Instead industry shied away from the engineering challenge,” Siva Power CTO Markus Beck told Greentech Media.

“From the perspective of a scientist it is extremely disappointing to see CIGS being misrepresented based on ignorance of the fundamentals of thermodynamics and lack of courage to tackle the engineering challenge of evaporation sources,” Beck has added.

Ajith Kumar S

[email protected]

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