Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Nanosolar Logo
Nanosolar truly is a company with the potential to change the World.

Roll-to-roll processingNanosolar has developed proprietary technology that makes it possible to simply roll-print solar cells that require only 1/100th as thick an absorber as a silicon-wafer cell (yet deliver similar performance and durability).

Nanosolar's technology dramatically lowers the process cost and complexity involved in the production of thin-film solar cells and makes it possible to scale production very rapidly.
The result sets the standard for the technology and products that make it possible to put A Solar Panel on Every Building™.

Nanosolar is pioneering the “Third Wave” of Solar Power:

  1. The First Wave started with the introduction of silicon-wafer based solar cells over three decades ago. While ground-breaking, it is visible until today that this technology came out of a (research and market) environment with a lot of fascination for spearhead efficiencies and little regard for cost and the ratio between cost and efficiency. Despite continued incremental improvements, silicon-wafer based cells are fundamentally limited by high materials cost and poor capital efficiency. Because silicon wafers do not absorb light very strongly, silicon cells intrinsically require large amounts of semiconductor material. And because wafers are fragile, their handling is intricate and limits achievable process throughput, with the result being poor cost efficiency.

  2. The Second Wave came about a decade ago with the arrival of the first commercial thin-film solar cells. This established that new non-silicon semiconductor materials could dramatically reduce the materials cost of solar cells, with the absorber of such cells being two orders of magnitude thinner than that of silicon wafer cells. However, it turned out that this was not enough to make a fundamental difference in the cost efficiency of solar panels overall: the challenge resided in yield and throughput limits of vacuum based thin-film deposition techniques, which resulted in high process cost. As a result, none of the many thin-film efforts based on vacuum deposition was ever able to produce products more than only marginally less expensive than ever-improving silicon cells.

  3. The Third Wave of Solar Power brings together several fundamental technology innovations that build on the unmet potential of the Second Wave while more than addressing its limitations. The result of these patented and patent-pending innovations is a dramatic improvement in the cost-efficiency, yield, and throughput of the production of thin-film solar cells.
The ability to architect and assemble materials on a nanometer scale now makes it possible to optimize solar cells at the very length scale at which the relevant photovoltaic semiconductor quantum-physics occurs.

Molecular self-assembly techniques for instance now give us the unprecedented capability of designing and creating nanostructured materials with novel properties.
Such techniques generally rely on formulas that control the precise, bottom-up chemical assembly of molecules into geometric structures composed of many molecules, e.g. in the 1nm to 100nm range.

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