Thin Film Solar Panels

What are thin film solar panels, and why are they so important? What do they mean for broad-scale solar power solutions?

Thin film solar panels operate in the same manner that regular solar panels do, the only difference being that they are a lot thinner and require far less materials and energy for construction.

This might not sound particularly spectacular, but in fact it is. It is a major breakthrough in solar technology.

Why Are Thin Film Solar Panels So Important?

Thin film solar technology is considered to be a major breakthrough because, up until now, the two barriers that have prevented solar energy and solar technology from becoming mainstream energy providers have been:

  1. The cost to produce them, and
  2. The problems in mass-producing them rapidly.

Both of these problems have been solved. This paves the way for rapid expansion of clean energy in the form of solar power.

What is Thin Film Solar Technology?

Thin film solar technology is a method of putting extremely thin films of photovoltaic material on to a thin layer of backing for support.

This is made possible through new inventions, such as solar ink. A photovoltaic material is dissolved into a solution, that is then printable as ink. It is then printed out, similarly to how books are printed.

As a result of the invention of solar ink, it is now possible to print photovoltaic material onto thin layers of plastic, fabric, or metal. This printing process is extremely fast, and thus it allows you to mass-produce solar panels at a high speed and at only a fraction of the cost.

Whereas, in the past, solar panels were bulky and weighed a serious amount, thin film solar panels weigh almost nothing and take up almost no space. This means that solar panels can now be produced at only 5 percent of the cost, as compared to our old bulky solar panels.

Uses of Thin Film Solar Technology

The new possibility of literally printing solar panels onto materials such as fabric, plastic and metal, has opened up new doors in the application of solar power.

Some of the uses now possible are as follows:

Construction:

  • Metal roofing Membrane roofing Architectural fabric

Consumer:

  • Rollable solar chargers
  • Foldable solar chargers
  • AA battery solar charger
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Satellite phone chargers
  • Laptop chargers GPS chargers
  • PDA chargers
  • Handheld game chargers
  • Radios

Outdoors/Camping:

  • RVs Campers Boats GPS devices
  • Military, Police and Emergency Services:
  • Solar field shelters
  • Foldable solar chargers
  • Rollable solar chargers
  • AA battery solar charger
  • Communications systems
  • Medical refrigeration systems
  • Water purification systems

Remote Locations, etc:

  • GPS asset tracking
  • Highway/transportation lighting and signals
  • Weather stations
  • Wildlife feeders
  • Remote sensors and data transmitters
  • Security lighting
  • Warning/safety lights
  • Water pumping systems

The above are just some of the ways that solar power can be and is being used, with the advent of thin film solar panels. I am sure that many more uses will be added, now that the price and manufacturing barrier of solar power have been broken.

View or Buy Thin Film Solar Panels

To view pictures of (or buy) Thin Film Solar Panels, you can visit our store section on Flexible Solar Panels.

See Also: Solar Ink

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