Directory:Thin Film Solar

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Directory of Thin Film Solar technologies and resources.

Products Available

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Not your average solar panel: The SRS solar roof tile - The Solé Power Tile system is the first building-integrated photovoltaic roofing product designed to blend in with curved roof tiles and is offered exclusively as an upgrade option to customers of US Tile. The triple-junction amorphous silicon thin-film technology incorporated within the Solé Power Tile is manufactured by United Solar Ovonic. (GizMag August 23, 2009)


Cadmium Telluridium (CdTe)

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Template: 43 / Latest: Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar >Directory:First Solar - Though this Arizona company is to be congratulated on reducing manufacturing costs for solar modules to 98 cents per watt, breaking the $1 per watt price barrier, the environmental downside of the use of highly toxic cadmium can't be overlooked. (PESWiki March 16, 2009)
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Directory:AVA Solar Inc - AVA Solar will start production next year on cadmium telluride thin film solar PV modules developed at Colorado State University. Produced at less than $1 per watt, the panels will reduce the cost of generating solar electricity to roughly the same as the conventional grid.

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Directory:First Solar - PV Modules designed for large scale, grid-connected solar power plants are sold to leading solar project developers for use in commercial PV projects. Cadmium telluride is uniquely capable of producing low cost solar modules. Its physical properties are optimal for converting sunlight into electricity, resulting in highly efficient photovoltaics with thin (< 3 micron) semiconductor layers. CdTe is a robust material with the demonstrated capacity for high volume, low cost production.

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PrimeStar to commercialize NREL solar cells - PrimeStar Solar announced an agreement to commercialize high efficiency photovoltaic (PV) technology developed by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The agreement is to transition NREL's record 16.5% efficiency cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology to commercial module production. (Inside Greentech Feb. 28, 2007)

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Cadmium telluride photovoltaic modules - Germany-based Q-Cells has acquired Ohio's Solar Fields in a deal that merges their production of cadmium telluride thin film photovoltaic modules. The first prototype facility with a capacity of 25 megawatts is expected to start production in the first quarter of 2008. ( Nov. 1, 2007)

Painting solar Bloo - Bloo Solar plans to use billions of nano-structured photovoltaic cells it calls "bristles," to capture light and boost the overall daily power output of solar modules at dramatically lower costs. It claims to not be dependent on any specific material, though the company has picked cadmium telluride (CdTe) to commercialize initially. ( Feb. 11, 2008)

Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS)

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Solar Goes From Gardens to Gigabucks - Solyndra, received $600 million in venture capital and $1.2 billion in orders for its new cylindrical solar modules, collect sunlight more efficiently across a broader range of angles and catch light reflected off the roof itself. The CIGS solar cells also contain no silicon, which has been a costly component of most solar systems. (Wired Oct. 6, 2008)

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Global Solar - Since 1996 Global Solar Energy has evolved into a major producer of thin-film photovoltaic Copper Indium Gallium DiSelenide (CIGS) solar cells. GSE is now the leading manufacturer of CIGS thin-film solar on a flexible substrate.

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Directory:Nanosolar Inc - Nanosolar has developed proprietary technology that makes it possible to simply roll-print solar cells with performance and durability similar to silicon-wafer cells, while cutting the costs, making solar affordable. The long-term limitation will be the growing scarcity of Indium. (PESWiki April 6, 2008)

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Directory:Vivian Alberts thin film solar - South African solar panels consist of a thin layer approximately five microns thick (a human hair is 20 microns thick) of a unique metal alloy that converts light into energy at a fraction of the cost. The photo-responsive alloy can operate on virtually all flexible surfaces. Expected in market in 2007. (PESWiki)

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Directory:DayStar Technologies - Photovoltaic Foil™ is a unique combination of Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) technology solar cells placed on flexible specialty metal foils. Unlike traditional solar cells which are brittle and require rigid, heavy module packaging to protect the cells from the environment, DayStar's CIGS-based Photovoltaic Foil™ is very lightweight, flexible and robust. (PESWiki)

Miasolé - Manufactures a thin-film photovoltaic cell consisting of an ultra-thin layer of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) on a stainless steel foil only 50 microns thick. It can easily be used in PV modules or incorporated into building materials like membrane roofing, and can weigh between 80 and 90 percent less than glass plate modules. Its power output is greater than crystalline silicon's in both low light and low-angle light.

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Honda's Silcion-Free Solar Cells - Honda has begun selling new thin-film solar cells in Japan made with a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS), rather than silicon. The CIGS solar cells have a maximum output of 125 watts and will sell for approximately 60,375 yen ($495) in Japan. (MetaEfficient)

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10% efficient CIGS thin-film - Global Solar Energy announced that its copper indium gallium diselenide thin-film solar cells reached an average of 10 percent efficiency over several production runs. The company said it started production of its CIGS thin-film solar cells on a flexible substrate in 2004 and manufactured and shipped 4 megawatts of photovoltaic material last year. ( Jan. 28, 2008)

Global Solar modules get U.S. military approval - Global Solar Energy, maker of flexible thin-film Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) solar cells, has passed U.S. military tests and received a coveted rating. The company's folding solar module was subjected to immersion, vibration, high temperature storage, low temperature storage, temperature shock, altitude, sand & dust and transit drop testing. (Inside Greentech Jul. 9, 2007)

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HelioVolt has developed the fastest and most effective way to manufacture CIGS (Copper Indium Galluium Selenide), the most reliable and best-performing thin film material for generating electricity from sunlight. HelioVolt's FASST™ technology can apply efficient CIGS coatings in custom shapes, sizes, and tints to create power generating glass, steel, metal and polymers, making possible a new generation of solar power modules and photovoltaic construction materials.

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SoloPower - Electrochemistry based CIGS technology will enable production of high efficiency solar cells at a fraction of the cost of traditional CIGS fabrication methods, built on a thin flexible foil substrate. The total thickness of the active layers is in the order of 2 micrometers, resulting in efficient use of materials without negatively impacting the conversion efficiency.

Amorphous Silicon (a-Si)

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Directory:Nanotechnology / Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > 'Swiss cheese' design enables thin film silicon solar cells with potential for higher efficiencies - A bold new design for thin film solar cells that requires significantly less silicon - and may boost their efficiency - is the result of an industry/academia collaboration between Oerlikon Solar in Switzerland and the Institute of Physics' photovoltaic group at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. (Solar Daily May 10, 2011) 
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Roll-Up Solar Panels - Xunlight, a startup in Toledo, Ohio, has developed a way to make large, flexible solar panels. It has developed a roll-to-roll manufacturing technique that forms thin-film amorphous silicon solar cells on thin sheets of stainless steel. Each solar module is about one meter wide and five and a half meters long. (MIT Technology Review June 4, 2009)

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Energy Conversion Devices' Turnaround: Is BIPV Finally Ready To Take Off? - As one of the first thin-film solar companies to enter BIPV — Energy Conversion Devices (ECD-Ovonics) developed solar roofing shingles in the 1980s — ECD could be considered a bellwether for the potential of the technology and has finally shown a profit after all these years. (Renewasble Energy World Jan. 16, 2009)

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ePOD - has developed a new solar panel assembly-manufacturing process that reduces costs to manufacture a Thin Film Amorphous Silicon solar panel by 40%. The process uses 50% less glass and at a cost up to 30% lower than competing thin-film panels. Further benefits result from reduced shipping and installation costs.

Evergreen Solar - String Ribbon combines the best attributes of conventional crystalline silicon and emerging thin films. It achieves the reliability, stability, high efficiency, and market acceptance of crystalline silicon - without the inherent cost and waste of sawing. And it embodies the efficient material utilization and potential for continuous processing of thin films, but with a more manufacturable process.

SCHOTT Sends Thin Film Shipments - SCHOTT Solar opened its new manufacturing facility last November and is has already started shipping. The new factory in Jena produces the SCHOTT ASI thin film module. Production began on schedule and the first palettes of product have been shipped to the company's sales partners. (Renewable Energy Access Jan. 11, 2008)

Dye Sensitized

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Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > Oxford develops affordable thin-film solar tech - An innovative OU (Oxford University) company has developed new solar cell technology that is manufactured from cheap, abundant, non-toxic and non-corrosive materials and can be scaled to any volume. Oxford PV predicts that manufacturing costs will be around 50% less than the current lowest-cost thin film technology. (PhysOrg January 6, 2011)
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Directory:G24 Innovations Limited - Automated "roll-to-roll" manufacturing process transforms a lightweight roll of metal foil into a 100-pound half-mile of G24i’s Dye Sensitized Thin Film in less than three hours. This material is rugged, flexible, lightweight and generates electricity even indoors and in low light conditions.

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Orionsolar - Dye cells generate electricity using nano-sized titanium dioxide particles impregnated with dye, work well in a wide range of lighting conditions and are particularly suited to warmer climates. Orionsolar has developed low cost printing and laminating techniques which could reduce the cost of dye cells to 70 cents per peak watt, making solar energy competitive with fossil fuels.


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The Pyradian solar cell - NLV Solar AG has developed an iron-sulphur composite semiconductor using digital prototyping, with very promising results. The research indicates unique properties which include an average photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 38% and a peak performance of over 50%. As a multilayer thin-film cell the material could be applied to substrates in a transparent or tinted coating. (NLV Solar March 12, 2009)


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Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > Wysips technology can turn any surface into a PV power plant - A French company recently showed off a prototype phone where the touchscreen display itself housed the solar-soaking cells. Wysips technology allows light to pass through a semi-cylindrical lens onto thin strips of photovoltaic cells below, while also allowing the surface underneath to show through enabling many to potentially become self-sufficient power producers. (News:GizMag March 29, 2011)


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Latest: Directory:Nanotechnology > The Less than Exotic Free Energy Technologies of Nanoholdings - Nanoholdings is a company that has developed multiple technologies that incorporate nano-materials. Their CEO, Justin Hall, recently gave a TED talk discussing their discoveries. It seems when it comes to energy technology, they are still thinking too far "inside of the box" -- ignoring more exotic, and more robust solutions. (PESN and BeforeItsNews December 5, 2011)
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Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > Spray-on film turns windows into solar panels - Norweigan solar power company, EnSol, has patented a thin film solar cell technology designed to be sprayed on to surfaces such as windows and exterior walls. Unlike traditional silicon-based solar cells, the film is composed of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix, and operates on a different principle. (News:GizMag April 17, 2011)
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Directory:Nanotechnology / Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > Transparent Solar Spray Transforms Windows Into Watts - Norwegian Company EnSol AS has developed a remarkable new spray-on solar film that allows windows to generate solar power without clouding the view. The material consists of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix that can be easily sprayed on. And the cells don’t just work on glass — they can be used on the rest of the house, too! (Inhabitat Aug. 10, 2010)
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Project Sage: Bringing Solar Power to the Masses - Nano-scale research at the Univ. of Arizona could one day lead to photovoltaic materials thin enough, flexible enough and inexpensive enough to go not only on rooftops but in windows, outdoor awnings and even clothing. The goal for UA scientists is to understand and control the interfaces in these devices to enable the development of long-lived solar energy conversion devices on tough, flexible and extremely low-cost plastic substrates. (PhysOrg July 23, 2009)

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Flexible solar-powered rooftop shingles - Using technology was originally used to protect flat panel televisions from dampness, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed flexible solar panels that could be installed on roofs like shingles. (Alt Energy News June 14, 2009)

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Nanostructures Will Raise Thin-Film Solar Cell Efficiency - Thanks to nanostructures that scatter and channel light, University of California, San Diego electrical engineers are working toward thin-film “single junction" solar cells with the potential for nearly 45 percent sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies. (NewsWise May 15, 2008)


Innovalight - Innovalight is harnessing a proprietary silicon-ink process to print thin-film solar power modules. Leveraging the advantages of solvent-based processing, Innovalight will help accelerate the promise of more affordable solar power solutions for residential and commercial applications.

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NanoGram - NanoGram Solar is developing low cost thin solar modules with the efficiency and reliability of crystalline silicon. With successful development, combined performance and cost ( Directory:Solar:Largest / Directory:Thin Film Solar > Directory:First Solar > Chinese solar plant expected to be the biggest - Arizona company, First Solar, which makes more solar cells than any other company, said it struck a tentative 10-year deal to build a 25-square mile solar plant in China's vast desert north of the Great Wall, generating 2 gigawatts of electricity -- enough to power 3 million homes. (Salt Lake Tribune Sept. 8, 2009)

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Solar technology that works at night - INL and MicroContinuum are developing cheap solar technology that could absorb energy from both sunlight and the earth's heat, with 80% efficiency compared to 20% for conventional solar cells. Tiny square metal spirals, or “nanoantennas", are stamped onto a sheet of plastic and can be made of a number of different conducting metals. (GizMag Jan. 4, 2008) Other potential applications

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HelioVolt to build CIGS factory in Texas - HelioVolt announced plans to build its first thin film solar factory in Austin, Texas. The plant will have an initial production capacity of 20 megawatts and will begin manufacturing copper indium gallium selenide, or CIGS, thin-film solar products in 2008. (Cleantech Dec. 20, 2007)

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First CIGS thin-film panels shipped - Nanosolar has started shipping thin-film solar panels, making it the first company to market copper indium gallium selenide, or CIGS, solar products. They are going to a solar power plant in Germany that will use Nanosolar's Utility Panel to drive the cost efficiency of solar electricity systems. (Cleantech Dec. 18, 2007)

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First Solar stands alone - First Solar, which makes cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar cells, is having one of those years that corporate managers and investors dream about. So the question is, how come they don't have any major competitors? Copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) solar cells aren't even on the market. CdTe works and there are customers. (CNET News Nov. 20, 2007)

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Nanosolar wins PopSci award - Nanosolar PowerSheet thin film solar panel has won the 2007 Popular Science Innovation of the Year award. They are made with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for as little as 30 cents a watt. (Popular Science 2007)

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Nano Thin Film PV - Liquidia is developing high-efficiency, cost-effective patterned thin film photovoltaic solar cells based on their PRINT platform for precision nanomolding. It combines photolithographic precision with a scalable continuous manufacturing process. (Renewable Energy Access Oct. 5, 2007)

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Energy-Generating Solar Roadways - Solar Roadways claims that a series of roads built out of solar panels could supply all of our country's energy needs several times over. The three layer roadways would also contain a revised version of the nation's electric grid and a network of communications cables. (TreeHugger Aug. 20, 2007)

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BioSolar - developer of thin film, flexible solar cells on bio-based plastic substrates, seeks to bring powerful cost advantages to the solar cell manufacturing industry. By manufacturing thin-film solar cells on a bio-based substrate and using vastly lower amounts of amorphous silicon, the company expects to leapfrog current production bottlenecks. The BioBacksheet is in commercial production. (BioSolar News Release March 10, 2008)

BioSolar Claims Global Rights for World’s First Solar Module Component Made From Renewable Materials - BioSolar is the first company to introduce a new dimension of cost reduction by replacing petroleum-based plastic solar cell components with durable bio-based materials. (BusinessWire Dec. 8, 2008)

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New Firm Enters Thin Film Solar PV Market - Signet Solar was recently launched by a group of semiconductor executives to manufacture large area, low cost, thin film silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules. It will design and produce PV modules for applications such as farms, large commercial installations and remote habitation. (Alternative Energy Retailer May 15, 2007)

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Ascent to develop 20% efficiency thin film cells - Ascent Solar has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to develop a flexible thin film tandem solar cell to demonstrate thin film photovoltaic efficiencies of 20%. Tandem solar cells are a combination of two cells stacked atop one another, with the top and bottom cells gathering energy from separate parts of the solar spectrum. (Inside Greentech May 9, 2007)

Aussies make solar power cell breakthrough - Researchers have developed a means of increasing the cell's light-trapping ability by up to 50% by placing a thin film of silver onto a cell and heating it to 200C. The film breaks into tiny "islands" of silver and raises the light-trapping efficiency to between 13-15%, compared to 8-10% for most thin-film solar cells. (Daily Telegraph May 1, 2007)

Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half - Within five years, solar power will be cheap enough to compete with carbon-generated electricity, even in Britain, Scandinavia or upper Siberia. In a decade, the cost may have fallen so dramatically that solar cells could undercut oil, gas, coal and nuclear power by up to half. (Telegraph UK Feb. 18, 2007)

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Frankfurt's First Solar-Cell Plant - Odersun thin-film flexible solar modules on copper tape can be produced for use in cells of all sizes and quality for facades and roofs, solar power stations and designer bags with an integrated "power socket" -- all without requiring special complicated or expensive silicon technology. (Renewable Energy Access Apr. 17, 2007)

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Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half - Flisom expects their thin-film solar cells to be cost competitive ($.80/watt) with fossil-fuel generated power within five years, and 50% cheaper ($.50/watt) within ten years (commercially available in late 2009). Current solar capital cost is about $3 to $4 per watt vs. $1 for carbon power. (Telegraph Feb. 18, 2007) (Thanks TreeHugger)

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First Solar reaches orbit - First Solar reported yearly revenue growth of 388% on sales of low cost Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film solar modules, designed for large scale, grid-connected solar power plants. Manufacturing costs have been reduced to $1.25 per watt, and the company will supply solar modules for a 40-megawatt solar power plant in Germany. (Inside Greentech Feb. 14, 2007)

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The Future in a Tiny Solar Sphere - Kyosemi’s innovative new Sphelar® is a matrix of tiny, spherical-shaped solar cells that are designed to absorb sunlight at any angle, and do not require motorization for tracking the sun. They optimize the use of reflected and indirect light, and convert energy with close to 20% efficiency. (WorldChanging Feb. 5, 2007)

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Easy Solar Power - Installing solar power is easy, thanks to ECD Ovonics amorphous silicon thin-film photovoltaic (PV) laminates that can be bonded directly onto metal roofing panels. You just unroll the unbreakable peel-and-stick sheet, lay it faceup on a flat metal roofing panel and press it onto the panel while your assistant pulls the protective sheet off the sticky backing. (Mother Earth News October/November 2006)

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The Building Is the Solar Cell - A new solar panel is 100 times thinner and could be significantly cheaper than silicon photovoltaics. Building materials such as steel, glass and roofing may soon have embedded solar cells thanks to a thin-film technology that uses copper indium gallium selenide, or CIGS. HelioVolt's manufacturing process is 80 to 98 % faster than other thin-film manufacturing processes. (Wired News December 21, 2006)

Printed solar cells nearly ready - HelioVolt of Austin, TX, will have its solar-generating technology embedded into building products such as metal roofs, skylights, exterior glass and curtain walls, turning parts of a building into a power generator, more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional solar technology. ( Jan. 23, 2006)

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The Solar Wall - The Solar Wall at the Welsh Development Agency technology center in St. Asaph, North Wales generates up to 85 kilowatts of electricity from 2,400 Shell Solar CIS thin film modules. Ventilation behind the panels minimizes operating temperatures and thus maximizing output.

SolarMount rails were cold-rolled around a 3-meter radius, allowing them to follow the curving facade of the building.

More Efficient Solar Cells - Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a new type of semiconductor material that can capture low-energy photons for electricity, by introducing a few atoms of oxygen into a zinc-manganese-tellurium (ZnMnTe) alloy. LBNL has licensed the technology to RoseStreet Labs, which plans to commercialize solar cells made from these multi-band semiconductors, which could have efficiencies of around 45 percent. (Technology Review October 04, 2006)

CSU Team Develops Cheaper Panel for Solar Energy - Colorado State University research team is on the brink of mass-producing solar panels that will compete price-wise, for the first time, with traditional energy sources. "We're right now at the point where we can make electricity for the same cost as that generated from gas or coal." AVA Technologies LLC and First Solar LLC, use the process in which the chemical compound cadmium telluride is deposited in a thin film on a glass surface. (Engineering News CSU February 13, 2006)

High-Performance Multijunction Thin Films - Researchers test the voltage output of their award-winning gallium indium phosphide/gallium arsenide tandem solar cell, which has achieved record efficiencies in converting sunlight to electricity. By producing a concentrator cell with efficiency greater than 30%, NREL scientists passed an important milestone of the PV program. (U.S. DOE EERE Solar Energy Technologies Program)

Organic Photovoltaics Absorb From Near Infrared Frequencies - Global Photonic Energy Corporation (GPEC), developer of organic photovoltaic (OPVtm) technology for ultra-low cost high power solar cells, announced that the company's research partners at Princeton University and the University of Southern California (USC) have achieved a new record in an organic solar cell that is responsive to light in the near infrared (NIR) range of the solar spectrum. NIR radiation is invisible to the human eye. Under only NIR radiation, the Princeton solar cell would appear to be generating power in the dark -- as the human eye is only sensitive to visible light. The amount of incoming photons across the UV, visible and IR spectrums is about 4%, 51% and 45%, respectively. (FuturePundit January 08, 2006)

Solar Startup to Commercialize Thin-Film PV - RoseStreet said the solar cells will be the first commercialized that "capture the broad spectrum of the sun's energy utilizing thin film technology, a single material system and with potential efficiencies exceeding 55 percent." (Renewable Energy Access April. 21, 2005)

Support Resources

ProtoFlex Corporation - "Want to produce thin film solar cells? ProtoFlex offers complete proto-to-production packages. We have the expertise, thin film tools, production ramp experience, characterization tools, and cost-modelling experience to help you get your product to market."

Applied Materials - The new SmartWeb PV web coating system with multiprocessing capabilities focuses on high performance roll-to-roll thin film applications. The SmartWeb PV introduces an innovative vacuum coating system for mass production of flexible solar cells.

Ascentool - in the business of designing, technology licensing and consulting related to equipment and its processes used in making semiconductor, flat panel displays (FPD), MEMS and solar photovoltaic devices.

Research and Development

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Directory:Nanotechnology / Directory:Microorganisms in Energy Production / Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar > Solar power goes viral: Modified virus improves solar-cell efficiency by one-third - Researchers at MIT have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by enlisting the services of tiny viruses to perform detailed assembly work at the microscopic level. (PhysOrg April 25, 2011)
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Using nanoparticles to increase the effiiciency of thin film solar cells - Researchers at the Institute of Condensed Matter and Solid State Optics in Germany have found that using metallic nanodiscs distributed over the surface of a thin film solar cell increases absorption in the cell, improving its efficiency by up to 50 percent. (PhysOrg June 12, 2009)

Flexible Silicon Solar Cells - Arrays of the flexible monocrystalline silicon cells developed at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champagne, have about a 12% efficiency. The researchers increased the arrays' power output by about two and half times by adding concentrators in the form of a layer of cylindrical microlenses. (MIT Technology Review Oct. 6, 2008)


See Talk:Directory:Thin Film Solar

See also



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