We cover a lot of solar panel technologies here at Inhabitat — some are pie in the sky, some are a few years down the road and some are exciting products that are actually available today. SoloPower’s new flexible rolling solar panels are in the latter group, and they stand to significantly reduce production and installation costs. With a notable 11% efficiency, the easily-installed thin-film panels may be able to give traditional silicon panels a run for the money.
We can’t wait to see what architects can do with lightweight, bendable solar panels. Rather than using expensive glass and aluminum frames, these units can be literally rolled directly onto metal or flat roofs — thus saving money in materials, time and the extra engineering and upgrades a traditional rack would take. The panels use a Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide (CIGS) process that can produce very long panels but does not require a clean room. The cells are mounted on a flexible foil, and pig tail connectors at the end plug into on another to expedite the installation.
Via Dvice and CNET
What if someone or something (like a cat) walks over them regularly? Will it destroy the cells?
sono felice di questo applicazione spero che i prezzi scendono
Power Supply Slatm very comfortable and always in my mind If you want me ready to work and buy this system for countries in the Middle East and Central Asia N. Amirabad
[...] a strong insulating foundation. These measures ensure that the home can be powered completely by thin-film solar panels on the roof of the house and the carport. The home will be built by A-hus, whose goal is to build [...]
I'm so glad I came across your site. I'm very interested in the advance of solar technology.
I amend my previous comment; as I read it back, I realize I do not entirely agree with myself. 11% efficiency is fantastic for a thin-film panel, and my declaration that it should be left to charge a cell phone was exaggerated. As someone in the solar industry, I believe all efforts to make strides in affordable and publicly accessible solar energy are to be applauded, and this product in particular is a neat one. There are some in the industry who believe think-film is the future, such as Sharp Solar’s Ron Kenedi, who say that amorphous silicon will comprise 50% of his company's business in the coming years. Whatever your opinion, thin-film does have its advantages, and it will be worth the wait to see what's next.
While it's true that these would reduce the up-front cost of instillation, the efficiency of this rollable option should factor into the price as well. Unless the mystery-price is extraordinarily low (which I'm inclined to believe is not, since the manufacturing costs of CIGS technology are pretty high), it would take years longer to reach the break-even point and make these panels cost effective. At 11% efficiency, this technology is still better off charging cell phones than powering homes. Nice idea, though, for a future time when thin-films become more efficient.
I agree with jealous_monk... we could all get excited about this! How much? USD$ or otherwise. Thanks!
What about cost? As long as this company refuses to talk about what these things actually cost to make, it's hard to get very excited. Maybe they're hoping to just sell the company to someone with better production capacity, but if there was evidence that these things were cost competitive it is hard to imagine that they wouldn't be telling us.