What is Thin film PV?

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One hundredth of a human hair

The thickness of the active layer in traditional c-Si solar panels is somewhat similar to that of a human hair. By comparison, the active layer in thin-film solar panels is roughly 100 times thinner. What’s more, photovoltaic material that consists of perovskite is 10 times thinner still.

Advantages of thin film

Thin film has important advantages:

  • The active material can be deposited on flexible materials such as foil. Flexible thin-film solar panels are:
  • The energy yield is comparable with that of c-Si and is getting better all the time.
  • Little material is required to produce it, which makes it relatively cheap.
    • Flexible and lightweight
    • Optionally semi-transparent
    • Ideally suited to integrate into existing products

Different types of thin film

There are different types of photovoltaic material:

  • Cadmium telluride (CdTe)
  • Amorphous silicon (a-Si)
  • Organic photovoltaic materials (OPV)

Solliance mainly conducts research into:

  • CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide)
  • Perovskite solar cells (PSC)

Towards cost effective production processes

Thin-film solar panels are still relatively expensive. This is because currently only panels based on CdTe are produced on a large scale. A disadvantage of this type of panel is that it contains cadmium, which is toxic. None of the other thin-film panels are already being produced on a large scale. This is because no large-scale, cheap production processes are available yet for most of the other thin-film panels.

Solliance’s mission

The mission of Solliance is to team up with companies to develop technology that can contribute to the large-scale and low-cost production of thin-film solar panels. Our ultimate goal is to increase employment in Europe.

Barend Vermeulen

+31 (0)6 2013 3795

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