The Advantages of CIGS Solar Technology for Commercial Vehicles


When we first started supplying solar panels in 2020 the perception in the market of solar for transport applications wasn’t great and rightly so.  People in the transport industry said “we’ve tried solar before and it didn’t work” but that’s because it was a totally different technology.  The panels then were monocrystalline or polycrystalline which were silicon based.  They weren’t really suitable for transport applications because they were heavy and inflexible and broke too easily. 

Genie Insights’ solar panels for commercial vehicles are UK manufactured by MiPV using a modern CIGS technology (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) which is slim, light weight and flexible, making the panels pretty much unbreakable; and they perform much better than the traditional kind. 

In this article we will highlight the many benefits CIGS technology has over other photovoltaic (PV) options on the market:

Superior Light Absorption

By using CIGS, a compound semiconductor, thin-film modules absorb light up to 100 times more effectively than conventional materials such as silicon ensuring maximum energy conversion (Source).

All-Day Energy Production

CIGS panels start producing energy earlier in the morning and continue generating power longer into the evening, therefore allowing for a longer charge period than its monocrystalline equivalent.  This is mainly due to the Open Circuit Voltage (VOC) of CIGS technology being higher than other PV materials.  Read more about the importance of VOC here.

Reliability in All Conditions

Most solar panels only contain a few bypass diodes which significantly limits performance in shaded or cloudy conditions but 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 365 days per year including low light, shading from buildings, cloudy days and if partially damaged or covered (e.g. by snow). 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 a CIGS pane has been penetrated five times by shots from a .22 rifle!:

And you can read more about bypass diodes here.

Cool & Safe

Unlike monocrystalline panels, CIGS panels do not generate heat, eliminating the risk of overheating and potential fire hazards.  In a temperature-controlled vehicle, in particular, avoiding additional heat is preferable.

Flexible Design

MiPV Flexible CIGS Solar Panel

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 a roof’s curvature as it does not require a frame to house the panel.

Lightweight & Streamlined

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.

Non-Invasive Installation

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.

In just three years, Genie Insights has shattered the misconceptions surrounding solar panels for commercial vehicles. Our UK-manufactured CIGS panels have transformed the possibilities of photovoltaic solutions in the transport sector, offering flexibility, superior performance and unrivalled reliability in all weather conditions.

Learn more about our solar range here.