Flexible solar panels
First of all let me start by saying that this article will give you some background information on the three most popular flexible solar panels technology that is being touted today. Without getting bogged down in too much physics and technical detail.
There is a lot of interest in these flexible solar panels because people see them as being the forerunners in relation to cost, recently the technology has advanced a great rate of knots due to demand because of their lower manufacturing costs.
A lot of cheaper electronic devices use thin-film flexible solar panels such as the common solar powered calculator, but this technology is also being expanded for use in larger domestic and commercial uses.
There are 3 solar technologies that I want to bring your attention:
- Cadmium Telluride, being cost-effective in the manufacturing process its downfall is that it is less efficient than other forms such as thin film silicon. Another drawback is that some of the materials in the solar cells can be toxic which leads to concerns about the eventual exposure to the environment. Research is under way to determine whether these fears are valid because the economics surrounding this technology makes it attractive, these solar cells have a 15% conversion of total energy.
- Thin Film Silicon, also known as Amphorous users similar technology that is found in the commonly seen rectangular solid solar panels. But instead of using hard crystalline silicon that is encased in strengthened glass it is manufactured with the use of a flexible piece of plastic or thin metal then it is coated. Tends to be less efficient but then again it is cheap to manufacture, but in doing so is solar panel needs to be somewhere between 30 and 50% larger in overall surface area.
- Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS), this solar technology is reportedly an exciting breakthrough war between manufacturing cost and efficiency. Efficiency in the vicinity of 19% has been reportedly achieved with the use of solar CIGS cell, meaning that there was at least a 19% conversion of total energy to electricity. As the world record for the efficiency of a mainstream solar panel is 24% you can see that this has been attracting a lot of attention from manufacturers wanting to mass produce this type of thin film flexible solar panels. There are some heavyweight companies investing enormous amounts in their research and development of this particular technology, and with this type of investment results are sure to occur.