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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thin film solar-- it is the way of the future available today!

Okay, so I have read a virtual plethora of articles about thin film solar. I have also read another plethora of articles about its uses. Thin film stands to be the next HUGE thing in the solar market.

Furthermore thin film solar accesses several different types of solar cells. These include, but in no way are limited to: a-Si, a-Si/Ge, CIGS, and CdTe. I will now try to explain to you what each of these mean in the following paragraphs.

a-Si stands for 'Amorphorous Silicon' and is the non-crystalline allotropic form of silicon. See, silicon by its nature is generally tetrahedrally bonded to four neighboring silicon atoms. But in its amorphorous state, the silicon forms a continuous random network. The keyword here is random.

I cannot actually find what a-Si/Ge stands for but I am going to step out on a limb here and say that it is a composite of amorphous silicon and germanium, which makes total sense.

CIGS stands for 'Copper indium gallium selenide' (what a mouth-full there) and is also tetrahedrally bonded semiconductor.

And that brings us to the last one on the list, CdTe, which stands for from cadmium and tellurium, and is formed in a crystalline form.

Now the most important thing to note about each of these semiconductors is that they each have a varying amount of efficiency. Furthermore one can only guess that the higher the efficiency, the higher the price that each one is going to be.

Now I also read an article a few months back which said the highest efficiency of the solar world was one in which the substrate included arsenic. You know that lethal element, arsenic, but whenever put into a substrate it is considered to totally safe.

Now comes the uses for thin film, you can actually build a metal roof and cover it with thin film, plus it can also be used in shingles. This is not the limit of the uses for thin film and is just the start, but as u can plainly see from the examples which I supplied you with thin film solar totally eliminates the need for a mounting system, and even trackers. Now, it might not be as efficient as trackers are, but it sure would be sweet if everyone's roof were covered with thin film solar.

Here is a chart designed by GTM Research that details out major makers of thin film solar and what technology each uses.
thin film manufacturers

And here is another graphic produced by GTM Research that details the estimated top thin film PV suppliers by production MW wise for the 2012 year.
top thin film suppliers by MW

And if anyone of you have any questions about thin film or the technology that makes them work, if you pose it to me I will try my best to answer it as quickly as I can.

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