MiaSole Thin-Film Solar Panel Review - Amazing 15.7% Efficiency
MiaSole CIGS thin-film solar panel cost gets closer to $1 per watt making it a strong competitor to silicon solar panels
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy confirmed that copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels manufactured by Santa Clara, California-based MiaSole have achieved 15.7% efficiency. This represents a 1.4% gain in efficiency over MiaSole's 14.3% efficiency announcement last year, and sets a new efficiency record for CIGS thin-film solar panels.
Our review of MiaSole's CIGS thin-film solar panels with a record 15.7% efficiency and cost of close to $1 per watt.
The new efficiency of MiaSole's CIGS thin-film is remarkable in that it allows for efficiencies equal to or better than those of many silicon solar modules available in the world today (many of which are around 15%), but manufactured at a lower cost. Although some polycrystalline silicon solar panels have an efficiency rating higher than 15%, the new efficiency of the MiaSole CIGS thin-film solar panels will allow thin-film to more effectively compete with silicon solar panels since that they can be offered at a lower price point and, unlike silicon solar panels, the CIGS thin-film solar panels can be built on a flexible form, allowing more architectural flexibility as well as better integration into a building's facade.
Rommel Noufi, a solar researcher for the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, noted that MiaSole's recent gain in efficiency brings its CIGS thin-film solar panels closer to reaching $1 per watt to install and maintain, which is the Department of Energy's goal for solar panel efficiency. At $1 per watt, solar panels would be able to compete with traditional electricity without the help of government subsidies.
This focus on cost may make MiaSole's thin-film solar panels a more viable option than silicon solar panels. Wal-Mart seems to have confidence in the company. The retail giant announced in September that it will be installing MiaSole's CIGS thin-film solar panels on the roofs of Wal-Mart stores in sunny states including California, Arizona, and Hawaii.