Pour Your Solar Panels

Aron Schatz
October 12, 2007

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Interesting concepts coming out. A company can deliver a solar panel by pouring crystal on a substrate. That's pretty impressive and cuts costs.


The key is that the resulting solar cell has efficiencies--or the amount of sunlight the solar cell can turn into electricity--that are closer to crystalline silicon solar cells than thin-film alternatives such as amorphous silicon or copper indium gallium selenide or CIGS. Crystalline solar cells have higher efficiencies than thin films. Commercial crystalline panels can convert up to 22 percent of sunlight into electricity, without concentrators. CIGS makers are initially shooting for the mid to low teens. The catch is that making crystalline solar cells is expensive. The patterning and other processes is similar to what is used in making LCD panels. Innovalight says it could conceivably cut the production price by around 50 percent or more. Many start-ups, however, had hit bumps in bringing new (albeit different) manufacturing techniques for solar cells to market.


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