Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thin-film processing

Thin-film photovoltaic cells can use less than 1% of the expensive raw material (silicon or other light absorbers) compared to wafer-based solar cells, leading to a significant price drop per Watt peak capacity. There are many research groups around the world actively researching different thin-film approaches and/or materials. However, it remains to be seen if these solutions can achieve a similar market penetration as
traditional bulk silicon solar modules.
One particularly promising technology is crystalline silicon thin films on glass substrates. This technology combines the advantages of crystalline silicon as a solar cell material (abundance, non-toxicity, high efficiency, long-term stability) with the cost savings of using a thin-film approach.
Another interesting aspect of thin-film solar cells is the possibility to deposit the cells on all kind of materials, including flexible substrates (PET for example), which opens a new dimension for new applications

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