Solar Cells - Printed on Sheet Metal
Nanosolar was started in 2001 and is headquartered in San Jose, California. The company has received financing from a number of technology investors including Benchmark Capital, MDV, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google. Nanosolar received the largest amount in a round of Venture Capital technology funding, amongst United States companies during Q2 2006, with 100 million USD of new funding secured. Nanosolar plans to build a large production facility in San Jose and in Germany, with an annual capacity of 430 megawatts, enough to roughly triple total American solar cell production, moving the US from third worldwide to second, behind Japan. Nanosolar is also building a panel manufacturing plant in Berlin. Germany is heavily invested in this company as a consequence of government subsidies for solar power. On December 12, 2007 the company announced that it had started solar cell production in its San Jose factory, with its German facility slated to go into operation in the 1st quarter of 2008. On December 18, 2007 the company began shipping their first solar panels, which will be used to power a one-megawatt plant in Germany.
CEO Martin Roscheisen is a technology entrepreneur whose three previous technology companies reached a combined value of more than $1.2 billion; EVP Operations is Werner Dumanski who previously led IBM's $4.5 billion storage-disk manufacturing; CFO James McNicholas was Hitachi's top finance executive; and co-founder and VP Corporate Development Brian Sager, a biotech veteran who has advised more than 50 high-growth companies.
The company uses copper indium gallium diselenide.which can achieve up to 19.5% efficiency.to build their thin film solar cells. Nanosolar's solar cells are thought to have an efficiency of 13.95%. Technical details of Nanosolar's new manufacturing techniques are closely held by the company but some information of their process has become available in a Scientific American article (in German).  These details involve a semiconductor ink that it claims will enable it to produce solar cells with a basic printing process. In this process, the ink is deposited on a flexible substrate (the .paper.), and then nanocomponents in the ink align themselves properly via molecular self-assembly. Two advantages over earlier technologies is that a printing process is quick and also makes it easy to deposit a uniform layer of the ink, resulting in a layer with the correct ratio of elements everywhere on the substrate. Also, the ink is printed only where needed, so there is less waste of material. Last, the substrate material on which the ink is printed is much less expensive than the stainless steel substrates that are often used in thin-film solar panels.
These solar cells successfully blend the needs for efficiency, low cost, and longevity and will be easy to install due to their flexibility and light weight. Estimates by Nanosolar of the cost of these cells fall roughly between 1/10th and 1/5th  the industry standard per kilowatt.
The company implies that their solar cells can last more than 25 years by saying they "achieve a durability compatible with our 25-year warranty."[
The New Dawn of Solar
Imagine a solar panel without the panel. Just a coating, thin as a layer of paint, that takes light and converts it to electricity. From there, you can picture roof shingles with solar cells built inside and window coatings that seem to suck power from the air. Consider solar-powered buildings stretching not just across sunny Southern California, but through China and India and Kenya as well, because even in those countries, going solar will be cheaper than burning coal. That.s the promise of thin-film solar cells: solar power that.s ubiquitous because it.s cheap. The basic technology has been around for decades, but this year, Silicon Valley.based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality.
The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute. With backing from Google.s founders and $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, Nanosolar.s first commercial cells rolled off the presses this year.
Cost has always been one of solar.s biggest problems. Traditional solar cells require silicon, and silicon is an expensive commodity (exacerbated currently by a global silicon shortage). What.s more, says Peter Harrop, chairman of electronics consulting firm IDTechEx, .it has to be put on glass, so it.s heavy, dangerous, expensive to ship and expensive to install because it has to be mounted.. And up to 70 percent of the silicon gets wasted in the manufacturing process. That means even the cheapest solar panels cost about $3 per watt of energy they go on to produce. To compete with coal, that figure has to shrink to just $1 per watt.
Nanosolar.s cells use no silicon, and the company.s manufacturing process allows it to create cells that are as efficient as most commercial cells for as little as 30 cents a watt. .You.re talking about printing rolls of the stuff.printing it on the roofs of 18-wheeler trailers, printing it on garages, printing it wherever you want it,. says Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. .It really is quite a big deal in terms of altering the way we think about solar and in inherently altering the economics of solar..
id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5154359615942595122" border="0" />In San Jose, Nanosolar has built what will soon be the world.s largest solar-panel manufacturing facility. CEO Martin Roscheisen claims that once full production starts early next year, it will create 430 megawatts. worth of solar cells a year.more than the combined total of every other solar plant in the U.S. The first 100,000 cells will be shipped to Europe, where a consortium will be building a 1.4-megawatt power plant next year.
Right now, the biggest question for Nanosolar is not if its products can work, but rather if it can make enough of them. California, for instance, recently launched the Million Solar Roofs initiative, which will provide tax breaks and rebates to encourage the installation of 100,000 solar roofs per year, every year, for 10 consecutive years (the state currently has 30,000 solar roofs). The company is ready for the solar boom. .Most important,. Harrop says, .Nanosolar is putting down factories instead of blathering to the press and doing endless experiments. These guys are getting on with it, and that is impressive.. nanosolar.com .MICHAEL MOYER
The following two products are now availabe to wholesale volume customers:
Nanosolar Utility Panel..
Specifically designed for utility-scale power plants, Nanosolar Utility Panel. is the industry-best solution for MW-sized PV systems.
A high-power, high-current panel, the Nanosolar Utility Panel. features proprietary cell and panel design innovations that enable our panel product to have an entire factor more power and to carry 5-10 times more current than typical thin-film panels.
Available wholesale to select system integrators and electric utilities.
Light-weight solar-electric cell foil which can be cut to any size. Non-fragile. No soldering required for electrical contact.
Available wholesale to strategic partners.
Additional products are presently in various stages of prototyping and development. Please subscribe to our mailing list to be notified.
Benefits? World's lowest-cost solar panel. Designed to halven the balance-of-system cost relative to competitive panels. 25-year warranty.
Want to Buy Panels? We are presently already sold out for the next 12 months. We are working hard to scale our production capacity as fast as possible. Please sign up above to be notified of availability.
Technical Data Sheet? We presently share product data sheets only under Non-Disclosure Agreement with qualified volume customers. This is so we can extend the period of protection for certain proprietary features we have developed.
December 18, 2007
Posted by Martin Roscheisen, CEO
After five years of product development – including aggressively pipelined science, research and development, manufacturing process development, product testing, manufacturing engineering and tool development, and factory construction – we now have shipped first product and received our first check of product revenue.
We are grateful to everyone who supported us through all these years and the many occasions where there appeared to be mile-high concrete walls in our path; the unusual intensity and creativity of our team deserves all the credit for achieving this major milestone today.
Our product is defining in more ways I can enumerate here but includes:
- the world’s first printed thin-film solar cell in a commercial panel product;
- the world’s first thin-film solar cell with a low-cost back-contact capability;
- the world’s lowest-cost solar panel – which we believe will make us the first solar manufacturer capable of profitably selling solar panels at as little as $.99/Watt;
- the world’s highest-current thin-film solar panel – delivering five times the current of any other thin-film panel on the market today and thus simplifying system deployment;
- an intensely systems-optimized product with the lowest balance-of-system cost of any thin-film panel – due to innovations in design we have included.
Today we are announcing that we have begun shipping panels for freefield deployment in Eastern Germany and that the first Megawatt of our panels will go into a power plant installation there.
As far as the first three of our commercial panels are concerned:
Panel #1 will remain at Nanosolar for exhibit.
Panel #2 can be purchased by you in an auction on eBay starting today.
|This Listing Is Unavailable|
Panel #3 has been donated to the Tech Museum in San Jose.
[These are obviously not the first three we ever produced – we have produced loads for testing – but these are the first three of what we consider our commercial panels.]
Related Info: Nanosolar Shipping for Megawatt Municipal Power Plant