Everyone has come across photovoltaics on the news, on the road or through personal use. Roofs, cars, garden-lights, satellites, and calculators have all used photovoltaic systems to generate power from the sun. This technology still needs some improving before other fuels become obsolete. Cars still can’t run on solar power alone, for example, but with lower costs of production and increased efficiency the technology is becoming popular for individuals who want alternatives to electricity and fuel.
A company dedicated to improving the efficiency of these solar panel cells in Nanosolar (www.nanosolar.com). In fact, Nanosolar developed cells with world-record efficiency in 2006 and the U.S Department of energy awarded $20 million to the company in 2007. A lot of faith has been put into the potential of these cells. Founded in 2002, Nanosolar can now boast about owning the world’s largest solar cell factory in and the world’s largest panel-assembly factory in Berlin, Germany.
Nanosolar explains that they have developed the “world’s lowest-cost solar panel. Designed to halve the balance-of-system cost relative to competitive panels… Nanosolar is the first and so far only company in the world that has managed to make efficient solar cells work on a metal foil substrate that is both low cost and highly conductive. Our metal foil has a conductivity that is more than 20 times higher than that of the stainless steel used by others – and thus enables major cost reduction on the solar cell’s thin-film bottom electrode.”
Because these cells are less expensive does not mean that there is a catch. In fact, the company prides itself on testing these panels in the harsh environments of Arizona and Alaska and and they stand behind their 25 year warranty.
Nanosolar produces two varieties of solar paneling: The first is the Nanosolar Utility Panel. This panel is “specifically designed for utility-scale power plants…and is the industry-best solution for MW-sized PV systems.” The second panel is the “Nanosolar SolarPly.” This is a “light-weight solar-electric cell foil which can be cut to any size.”
Demand for these Nanosolar panels is so high that they are sold out for the next year. The potential for these cells is immense, so it is no surprise that many individuals are investing money in a product that will eventually pay for itself. Sunlight is free, after all.