In this study, an optical simulation of Cu(In,Ga)Se 2 (CIGS) solar cells by the rigorous coupled-wave analysis (RCWA) method is carried out to investigate the effects of surface morphology on the light absorption and power conversion efficiencies. Various sub-wavelength grating (SWG) nanostructures of periodic ZnO:Al (AZO) on CIGS solar cells were discussed in detail. SWG nanostructures were used as efficient antireflection layers. From the simulation results, AZO structures with nipple arrays effectively suppress the Fresnel reflection compared with nanorod- and cone-shaped AZO structures. The optimized reflectance decreased from 8.44 to 3.02% and the efficiency increased from 14.92 to 16.11% accordingly. The remarkable enhancement in light harvesting is attributed to the gradient refractive index profile between the AZO nanostructures and air.