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Flexible Photovoltaic

by Nate Olison – PVPower.com Contributor – October 22, 2009

Article Highlights:

  • What is flexible photovoltaic?
  • Flexible photovoltaic production
  • The future of photovoltaics

Flexible photovoltaic (PV) technology is the next step in a seemingly endless series of “next steps” for PV power. With new methods of production, researchers have been able to create these Flexible Solar Panels. Without losing durability, they’ve reduced the size of PV cells to the thickness of camera film. This new thin quality allows PV cells to be folded or rolled up for easy transportation. The Uni-Solar PVL-144 is our most popular flexible solar panel.

John A. Rogers and his team of researchers from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana are responsible for this exciting breakthrough. Basically, instead of looking for better materials to use as semi-conductors, they found a new way to use silicon. Dr. Rogers has found a way to collect thin layers of silicon and stamp them onto different substances, such as plastic.

These new PV cells have a chance to revolutionize the way we think of solar energy. Flexible PV cells can be attached to basically anything. Clothes, backpacks, briefcases, drapes etc. Entire walls, blinds, window sills can all be transformed into sources of solar power. Soon you’ll be able to wear a shirt that’ll charge your cell phone or carry a computer bag that’ll charge your laptop.

The only disadvantage of flexible PV cells is the lack of efficiency. Because the cells are so thin, they produce less than half the power of traditional solar cells. Researchers consider that a small price to pay for solar cells that’ll be so widely used and readily available.

Learn More about Photovoltaic (Solar) Cells

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