The Rise of CIS (copper, indium, selenium)



George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC 2011-11-09


Philipp Schmaelzle
Baomin Xu
Gregory Ashley

The Rise of CIS (copper, indium, selenium)

Solar power is the best option available at the utility scale and as distributed generation, however, we can’t replace one environmental risk (carbon emissions) with another (toxic materials). Recognizing that green energy production must become more ecological is where Solar Frontier sees CIS (copper, indium, selenium) solar panels leading the thin-film market.

CIS thin-film technologies have the capacity to be a greener solution in a green industry. Using these materials, manufacturers have been increasing their energy conversion rates, while using no toxic chemicals in manufacturing and offering superior reliability and stability.

Solar Frontier recently announced the start of commercial production at its gigawatt-scale Kunitomi factory in Miyazaki, Japan, the world’s largest CIS thin-film solar module production plant, representing the beginning of CIS’s rise.  While currently representing an estimated 2-3% of the total solar market share, CIS has the capacity to lead thin-film to be the market leader by setting new industry standards for efficiency, and lowering overall costs.

By presenting Solar Frontier’s example, COO Greg Ashley will discuss the rise of thin-film and the environmental and economical advantages to CIS. He will also argue for the need for CIS manufacturers to band together on messages to ensure the success of CIS and the prospects and challenges for the next generation of thin film solar. Ashley brings nearly thirty years of experience in the energy sector, having served most recently as president of the U.S. market for Canadian Solar before joining Solar Frontier Americas.

Additional information

Focus Areas

Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.

Licensing & Commercialization Opportunities

We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for Commercialization.


PARC scientists and staffers are active members and contributors to the science and technology communities.