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.
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.
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