A Swedish Solar Startup's Nanowires Promise To Deliver A Big Energy Boost

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A Swedish Solar Startup's Nanowires Promise To Deliver A Big Energy Boost

09/04/2013 Vieux  
  40 ans, Brabant Wallon
Sol Voltaics Unveils Solink™ to Boost Performance of Solar Modules by 25 Percent.

A Swedish startup has figured out a way to increase the energy production of solar panels by 25% by using tiny wires made with gallium arsenide, an expensive material that excels at converting a greater amount of sunlight into electricity.
Sol Voltaics, founded in 2008, announced Monday a plan to bring its research out of the lab and into mass production. It plans to roll out what it calls SolInk, which solar panel makers will use to create a layer of gallium arsenide nanowires on top of the solar cells they normally produce. A 25% efficiency jump means a solar panel that can produce 200 watts will generate 250 watts of energy with the nanowires.
The venture capital-backed company is emerging at a time when an oversupply of solar panels worldwide over the past two years has depressed prices and caused dozens of manufacturers to file bankruptcies or be sold cheaply. Market research firms have predicted that the squeeze isn’t over and more than 100 solar panel makers will disappear in the next few years.

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The timing, then, is good for Sol Voltaics, according to its CEO David Epstein.
There are several key ways for solar panel makers to set themselves apart from the competition. One is to run the production equipment so efficiently that a manufacturer is able to produce a high volume of solar panels at less time than its competitors.
Improving the sunlight-to-electricity conversation rate is another well-known method. Just last week, Silicon Valley-based SunPower announced a new line of more efficient solar panels. Using more efficient panels means you will need fewer of them to produce the same amount of energy. That advantage saves space and cost: a homeowner won’t need a big rooftop space to get a sizable system and a developer won’t need to buy as much land to build a same-size power plant. Solar panel makers can therefore charge a bit more for efficient panels and still find takers, Epstein says.
While solar panel makers have steadily improved their products’ efficiencies, they need to do more — and better — than the competitors to win over customers in this buyer’s market, Epstein adds.
“The only way to cut the cost down further is through improving efficiencies,” Epstein says.
Sol Voltaics’s technology is based on the research at Lund University in Sweden by the founder and chief technology officer Lars Samuelson. Scientists have known for some time that nanowires can trap more light, and using certain materials, such as gallium arsenide, can make use of a certain section of the light spectrum that significantly increases energy production. The major challenges, though, are figuring out a way to produce nanowires and deposit them on solar cells cheaply.
Sol Voltaics has solved both challenges, Epstein says. Its nanowires, which measures 1-2 microns in length and 100-200 nanometers in diameter, will be stored in liquid (hence the product is called SolInk) but flow out in a gas stream when it’s sprayed onto a solar panel lined with solar cells. A polymer material will be added to set the nanowires in place. After that, the solar panel will go through the rest of the usual assembly process before it’s packed for shipment. Sol Voltaics’s formula will require less than a gram of the nanowires to cover a square meter of the panel surface.
The ink will work on silicon solar panels as well as those using alternative materials such as cadmium telluride (used by First Solar in the U.S.) or copper indium gallium selenide (used by Solar Frontier in Japan).
The startup has shown how well its nanowires could improve a solar cell’s efficiency, but that work uses indium phosphide. Indium phosphide is easier to work with to demonstrate Sol Voltaics’s technology, but it isn’t as efficient at producing energy as gallium arsenide.
Sol Voltaics uses data from its indium phosphide nanowire research to project that its gallium arsenide nanowires will deliver a 25% efficiency gain. Epstein promises that solar panel makers will be able to produce panels with a 25% boost consistently during mass production.
So the next step for Sol Voltaics will be to produce solar cells topped with gallium arsenide nanowires to further demonstrate its technology. It plans to accomplish that this year while raising money to work with an equipment manufacturer to create the necessary factory equipment to create a pilot production center by 2015. The startup plans to start mass producing the SolInk by 2016.
Sol Voltaics plans to make money from selling the nanowires. Its customers will have to buy the factory equipment for depositing the nanowires from equipment makers that work with Sol Voltaics.
The startup has raised $11 million since its inception from investors including Industrifonden, Foundation Asset Management, Teknoinvest, Provider Venture, Nano Future Invest and Scatec. Sol Voltaics plans to raise $10-$20 million this year. The company expects to enter full production without needing more than $50 million cumulatively.

09/04/2013 Vieux  
  40 ans, Brabant Wallon
09/04/2013 Vieux  
  41 ans, Liège
Posté par Yucatan Voir le message
Just last week, Silicon Valley-based SunPower announced a new line of more efficient solar panels.
Ça aussi, c'est nouveau : annonce officielle des Sunpower de 350 Wc, je suppose.
09/04/2013 Vieux  
  40 ans, Brabant Wallon
Posté par marc.d Voir le message
Ça aussi, c'est nouveau : annonce officielle des Sunpower de 350 Wc, je suppose.
With the sleek appearance of a jet-black glass panel with a black frame and all-back contact solar cells, the SunPower Signature™ Black design allows the panels to blend seamlessly into the rooftop.

The new X-Series is now available in a 250 watt small format and a 345 watt standard size format for the residential market, and can be ordered in the U.S. via SunPower's North American dealer network. The X-Series will be available in Europe later this month.


09/04/2013 Vieux  
  40 ans, Brabant Wallon
Si Sunpower utiliserait en + la technologie du début du topic, cela ferait des panneaux de 431.25 WC en partant des 345 WC qui devrait arriver fin de ce mois en Europe.
10/04/2013 Vieux  
  39 ans, Liège
Mais bon le machin gallium ca ne doit peut etre pas se trouver partout...
13/04/2013 Vieux  
  46 ans, Hainaut
Ce brol au Gallium arsenic va rendre très compliqué le recyclage des PV...

Projet Photovoltaique ?
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