Solar start-up comany Semprius just unveiled an ultra-tiny solar cell that is half the size of a pinhead and (when combined with powerful but inexpensive lenses) can concentrate sunlight more than 11,000 times and convert it to electricity! The minuscule solar cells are created through a low-cost production system that utilizes standard manufacturing processes and micro-transfer printing. This system enables the creation of CPV modules with high performance, high reliability, and low cost – not to mention scalability and high-volume production.
We love it when engineers can fit things on the head of a pin – it just shows ultra-efficiency, magnificent skill and the potential for great things to come. Semprius has been licensing the technology to enable a wide variety of new products requiring large-area, thin, lightweight form factors, unprecedented performance, high reliability and low cost. The pin-sized solar cell is also set to rejuvinate the local economy in Henderson, NC, as Semprius has announced plans to build a new factory in an area where unemployment is as high as 13.3 percent.
In 2007, Semprius won a “NextGen” grant from the Department of Energy to develop the technology, and it earned a coveted spot in the Photovoltaic Incubator Program. With guidance from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Semprius was able to get the technology into competitive shape for mass market production.