What are the benefits of CIGs technology over other photovoltaic solutions for transport applications?

Our photovoltaic solution for commercial vehicles uses a modern CIGS technology (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide).  This technology has many benefits over other photovoltaic options on the market:

  • By using CIGS, a compound semiconductor, thin-film modules absorb light up to 100 times more effectively than conventional materials such as silicon. (Source).
  • CIGS will start producing energy earlier in the morning and continue for longer in the evening therefore allowing for a longer charge period than its monocrystalline equivalent.
  • Most solar panels only contain three bypass diodes which significantly limits performance in shaded or cloudy conditions (if one cell is shaded, total power reduces by one-third). At Genie Insights, we incorporate bypass diodes into every other cell meaning if a pair of cells is shaded, the current is able to move to the next cell, so the only performance loss is from the shaded cells. This means our panel will work efficiently in the harshest conditions (365 days per year) including low light, shading from buildings, cloudy days and if partially damaged or covered (e.g. by snow or bird droppings). If a CIGS panel gets partially damaged it will continue to perform but with a reduced performance, rather than failing completely. Check out this video showing just a 10% power loss after being penetrated 5 times with a .22 rifle.
  • CIGS is a highly resource and energy efficient technology so has a lower environmental impact on a lifecycle basis than power generated from traditional solar technologies. Once installed, power production using CIGS creates zero greenhouse gases.
  • Unlike a monocrystalline panel, a CIGS panel does not generate heat. Because of the heat generation, a monocrystalline solution cannot produce power as efficiently as a CIGS panel and in a worst-case scenario could present a fire risk. In a temperature-controlled vehicle, in particular, avoiding additional heat is preferable.
  • A CIGS panel is flexible and more robust than traditional alternatives due to the glass and solder free construction. This enables the panel to be fitted easily to curved roofs as it does not require a frame to house the panel.
  • CIGS panels are just 3mm thick and extremely lightweight so there is no effect on payload or loss of MPG due to drag and the relative thinness means CIGS panels are arguably more aesthetically pleasing. Traditional glass-based panels, on the other hand, do not sit flush with the vehicle body.
  • A CIGS panel does not require any mechanical fixings or mounting frames and no punctures are required to apply them. This eliminates the chance of water ingress and protects the manufacturer’s warranty if fitting to a composite roof, for example. Installation costs are also minimised as a result.

Find out more about our solar range here.