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ascent solar makes efficiency progress

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently verified that Ascent Solar‘s flexible Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenide (CIGS) solar panels have an efficiency as high as 10.4% This is great news for flexible solar panels since they continue to get better in terms of how much sunlight they can turn into power. The flexible solar panel that was tested by NREL came right off a Ascent Solar’s production line which puts confidence in Ascent Solar’s ability to manufacturer 10% efficient flexible solar panels on a commercial level. The solar cells are produced on durable, light weight plastic, the plastic substrate materials result in higher power levels, compactness and flexibility that enable the solar cells to be configured into a wide variety of rolls, foldable packs, or traditional solar panel...

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advantages of thin film solar panels

When people think about thin film solar panels the first thing that comes to mind is the lower cost, but that’s not the only advantage of thin film solar panels. Thin film solar panels perform more efficiently than crystalline solar panels in low light or shady conditions. They weigh 10% less than traditional silicon based solar panels and can be flexible which allows them to be installed on various surfaces. Thin film solar panels are more resilient to hail, rocks, golf balls…etc. If part of a crystalline solar panel is damaged, the whole solar panel will stop working…on the other hand a thin film solar panel will continue to operate at a lower output if a part of the solar panel is damaged. The downside of thin film solar panels is they’re less efficient than traditional crystalline solar panels, you will need more surface area to work with. Silicon based solar panels typically produce more watts per square foot. What type of solar power projects do you think thin film solar panels are a good fit...

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Is thin film the future of solar?

Sharp Solar is betting on thin film. The company announced, they’re increasing their thin film production line from 15 megawatts to 160 megawatt capacity annually with the completion of it’s factory in Katsuragi, Japan. Sharp Solar increased the second generation thin film solar panel efficiency rate to 9% and offers a rated output of up to 128 watts per solar panel. Don’t expect to put these solar panels up on your house anytime soon, since the efficiency per solar panel is lower than traditional silicon based solar panels, thin film is better suited for projects with a vast amount of surface area. For example, if you were putting up a solar farm and space was no issue, well thin film would make sense, because you make up the lack of efficiency with space. But if you have a small roof, less surface area to work with, you want a highly efficient solar panel such as the Sanyo HIT solar panel, since it produces more watts per square foot. Until thin film technologies increase their efficiencies significantly the technology will not gain serious traction in the residential market. What do you think? Will the residential solar market see a highly efficient, dollar per watt thin film solar panel anytime...

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