This our fourth post in the Macroelectronics.org thin film solar cells series.
PowerFilm is the first and the only company now that use roll-to-roll manufacturing process to fabricate flexible solar panels. The flexible solar panels consist of several layers: transparent conductor, P-I-N device, back metal contact, and polymer substrate.
The polyimide substrate used for the panel makes panels flexible, lightweight, and as thin as 0.025 mm.
Thin film of amorphous silicon is used as the absorber layer in the flexible solar panels. Only 1% of silicon used in traditional solar cells is used.
The monolithic integration manufacturing process helps to reduce manufacturing costs and increase products durability because it eliminates labor costs and manual connections that can cause stress to the cells. Not only that, to improve solar cell durability, core solar panels are encapsulated between varieties of materials so that it can withstand different environment. PowerFilm has the capacity of make flexible solar panels of 13 inches wide and up to 2400 feet long.