Friday, September 12, 2008

The Smart Money Is On Thin Film Solar

If thin film solar technology is the future, then apparently "the future is now." A handful of companies are raising boatloads of venture cash to promote and produce the technology.

Accordinng to three companies-- SoloPower, NanoSolar, and AVA Solar have raked in more than $600 million among them.

In a post from last year, gives a good primer on thin film solar:

"Thin film solar modules don’t use the costly, and limited, silicon that we are used to. The technology is based on CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) arranged on a flexible backing, suitable for not only the tops, but also the sides of buildings, tinted windows, cell phones, notebook computers, cars, and even clothing. Thin film solar panels are “printed” onto the rolled backing, eliminating many of the highly energy and chemical intensive processes that are typical in convention PV manufacture"

According to the CNET report, thin film solar production is expected to double every year for the next three years, with 50% profit margins, compared to 15% margins for traditional silicon photovoltaic cells.