It’s no secret that one of the reasons that more people don’t make use of solar technology is that it’s still cost prohibitive for many people. Today I’ll be writing about an emerging manufacturing process that is bringing the cost to make and purchase PV panels down to affordable levels.
What Is A Thin Film Solar Panel?
This technology is basically the depositing of a “thin film” (one or more layers) of some kind of a photovoltaic material onto an inert backing. The backing material can be all kinds of things. Because of the wide range of items that this photovoltaic material can be affixed to, some very interesting types of solar panels can be fashioned.
One of the most exciting uses of this technology is that it is now possible to create various forms of building materials that double as PV panels. For example, solar roof tiles could be installed on your home which will effectively transform your entire roof into a giant energy producer.
One company by the name of Nanosolar has developed a process of actually printing solar panels if you can believe that! They expect that within the next several years, their process will develop to the point that their printed solar panels will reach levels of efficiency that are close to microcrystalline solar panels. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me!
Advantages of Thin Film Technology
- Use of this technology in building materials such as solar shingles can effectively create large arrays of cost effective PV panels.
- This technology can be used to transform a very wide variety of items into solar panels.
- Thin and lightweight printed pv panels can be used in space because they can be rolled up for storage during launch and then deployed by unrolling them once they are in space.
- Thin film solar cells can be easily installed on a solar roof and because of their light weight they are easy to work with.
- Work is being done to create semi-transparent thin film PV panels that can be installed on large skyscrapers.
- Due to the nature of the manufacturing process, solar thin film costs less to make than traditional panels. As the technology continues to develop these panels will become even more cost effective.
The Future of Thin Film Photovoltaic Technology
The future of this technology is very bright. I personally believe that it’s this technology that will move electricity that is produced from the power of the sun to the forefront of all energy production methods. I think this technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels as it gains favor with consumers.