October 06 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment Year: 2014 Rating: 8 Hot
What if we could print low cost solar panels on pieces of plastic and integrate this energy collecting material into buildings, infrastructure and product casings?
This is the future of thin film solar.
While traditional (rigid silicon substrate) solar panels are a relatively mature platform, we have not yet hit our stride in advancing the efficiencies of thin film solar.
Thin-film, or organic solar is attractive because it is low cost, flexible and can be integrated into existing materials and products. These systems can also be designed to tap broader sections of the light spectrum. Relatively low efficiencies mean that thin film solar will never be capable of providing a majority of our energy needs, but it is certainly part of a broader strategy of new distributed power generation.
Before we start asking when we might see thin film on the shelves at Home Depot or integrated into familiar product designs, the first step is to understand why thin film is different from traditional solar.
The following five video clips help to describe the future potential of thin film solar.
Nanosolar (Palo Alto-San Jose, CA) has long been considered a leading innovator in the field of organic photovoltaics or thin film solar.
Continue with next four videos…
This clip has no sound but the visuals are stunning. Nanosolar’s printing system produces 100 feet per minute of thin film solar (Demonstrated in 2008).
This 3 minute clip explains the basics of nanotechnology and photovoltaics. Source from Nanotechnology Image Library” :http://www.nanofolio.org/images/
Konarka was one of the first startups in the thin-film solar sector. (8 minute video)
Global Solar is a leading producer of thin-film Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) PV modules.
This 2 minute clip looks at light collecting nano antennas developed by researchers at Idaho National Laboratory with partners at Microcontinuum Inc. (Cambridge, MA) and Patrick Pinhero of the University of Missouri.