Big Nano

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

A solar cell manufacturer that boasts of 100 times thinner panels than current silicon solar cells, and production rates 100 times faster than with the methods usually employed in the industry will definitely catch our attention.  

Nanosolar, of San Jose, California, makes a CIGS-based solar film claimed to be thinner and much less expenive (ultra-low cost, according to Nanosolar) than silicon-based panels.  CIGS stands for copper/indium/gallium/selenium, the primary components of the new film.  Coated onto a thin aluminum substrate, the CIGS ink is literally printed on, the nanoparticles providing a demonstrated efficiency of up to 16.4-percent, verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  Initial production runs are producing panels of at least 11-percent efficiency. 

Nanosolar foil

While currently only half as efficient as the best production silicon solar cells, the high-speed manufacturing process promises to enable low-cost installations and future improvements in efficiency would lead to the light, flexible, powerful panels that could make solar-powered or augmented flight a commonplace. 

The company’s white paper on their technology should give readers an insight into a promising new development in solar cells.  With plants producing foil in Germany and San Jose, and with orders of over $4 billion, Nanosolar seems to have a bright future, indeed.

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