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Solar Energy Thin Film made by Iowa Thin Films (DOE)

Published on April 6th, 2008 | by Carol Gulyas

12

NREL Sets New World Record for Solar Cell Efficiency

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April 6th, 2008 by
 
Thin Film made by Iowa Thin Films (DOE)

From time to time the National Renewal Energy Lab (NREL) reminds us that the US used to be a leader in innovation. This time it’s in the area of solar thin film technology. The goal with solar thin film technology is to surpass the efficiency level of silicon solar cells. Efficiency refers to the rate at which sunlight falling on a solar cell is converted to electricity. Silicon has been the most efficient material, but it is is expensive and limited, so the world is seeking alternatives. (Picture above from the Dept. of Energy shows thin film manufactured by Iowa Thin Film Technologies.)

NREL has set a new world record using CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) thin film, which in tests has reached 19.9 percent efficiency, coming very close to the 20.3 percent level of multicrystalline solar cells.

“The ‘thin film’ term comes from the method used to deposit the film, not from the thinness of the film: thin-film cells are deposited in very thin, consecutive layers of atoms, molecules, or ions. Thin-film cells have many advantages over their ‘thick-film’ counterparts. For example, they use much less material—the cell’s active area is usually only 1 to 10 micrometers thick, whereas thick films typically are 100 to 300 micrometers thick. Also, thin-film cells can usually be manufactured in a large-area process, which can be an automated, continuous production process. Finally, they can be deposited on flexible substrate materials.” — U.S. Department of Energy

Now, if we only had some government policies that would help spur product development based on NREL’s cool innovation…..

Related Posts:

Thin Film Solar: Ready to Ramp Up Production?

Solar Panels and the Quest for $1/Watt 

The Future of Solar Energy: An Interview with John Sedgwick 

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About the Author

Carol Gulyas is a leader in the renewable energy community in Illinois, where she serves as VP of the Board of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. Recently she co-founded EcoAchievers -- a provider of online education for the renewable energy and sustainable living community. She spent 18 years in the direct marketing industry in New York and Chicago, and is currently a teaching librarian at Columbia College Chicago. Carol grew up in a small town in central Indiana, then lived in the Pacific Northwest, Lima, Peru, and New York City. She is inspired by reducing energy consumption through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building technology.



  • Pingback: A Thin Film Solar Installation Revisited : CleanTechnica

  • Uncle B

    Better cheaper solar cells make for a more likely ‘Waldon Pond’ senerio for modern low running cost homes.

  • Uncle B

    Better cheaper solar cells make for a more likely ‘Waldon Pond’ senerio for modern low running cost homes.

  • Pingback: CO2 Capture and Technology of the Future : CleanTechnica

  • http://www.greenbaba.com/component/page,shop.product_details/flypage,shop.flypage_solar/product_id,24/category_id,1/manufacturer_id,0/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,2/ Solar Charger

    It’s a great news. Also low cost is important for application.

  • http://www.greenbaba.com/component/page,shop.product_details/flypage,shop.flypage_solar/product_id,24/category_id,1/manufacturer_id,0/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,2/ Solar Charger

    It’s a great news. Also low cost is important for application.

  • Patrick

    Seriously people, it will take America Rising Up against our government (the senate in particular) to stop the Oil Machine. It will take and army of civilians standing against them, exposing thier evils, identifying them, and making them seen by the public for who they are- greedy scum sucking pigs who work against us, and guess what- that army of civilains is being formed right now. Read on…

    Regarding the latest energy bill that lets BigOil get way with what they have done already:

    “We need to bring back the previously failed energy bill would have repealed the $18Billion of your tax dollars that went to Oil companies last year (while they made $123Billion record Profits off of you & robbed you at the pump & then they stole $18B of your tax dollars, I wont’ even get into the war and the pollution these people perpetuate). Democrats have tried three times to pass this bill but the senators that the Oil companies pay off have blocked it three times now in 6 months, because, obviously, they are getting paid to by big oil to keep blocking it (why would they want solar or alt fuels to become the new energy?). If this kind of corruption and outright thievery & immoral actions bothers you at all even in the slightest, then simply call your senators Here’s their phone numbers(http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm). These are the senators that are allowing big oil to rip you off at the pump and then steal your tax money. Perhaps you’d like to give them a quick call? I’ve called before every bill, they

    answer right away, it’s very simple… it’s just that not enough people are calling so they keep doing what they are doing….

    Please call and pass this email on… sincerely, I think this is one of the easiest and best things that any US citizen can do to show their government that you are serious about these changes and that you are payig attention. If they don’t think you’re paying attention, they really will keep on doing what they are doing…. thank you…..

    ===

    THESE SENATORS MAKE ME ALMOST AS SICK AS THE OIL COMPANIES DO AND OUR WEB SITE WILL BE ETHCHING THEIR NAMES IN HISTORY – EACH SENATOR THAT VOTES (voted) AGAINST for GIVING BigOil $18Billion of our money and each senator who blocked the energy bill WILL BE RECORDED CLEARLY ON THE SITE – WHEN WE LOOK BACK IN HISTORY AT WHO KEPT OIL AROUND TO Pullute and rip off and wage wars over THESE PEOPLE WILL BE REMEMBERED!!!

    Oil and COAL – THE ROOT OF THE MAJORITY OF ALTERABLE EVIL IN THE WORLD TODAY.

    THE WAR ON OIL is ON!

    I hope you’ll join us soon!

    Patrick”

    The more good feedback and comments that I get about posts like this one here, the more encouraged I am to help to spread the word and gear America up for a fight against these real world villains – Oil and Coal. We are sooooo complacent because we feel there is nothing we can do to stop them, or that it would take too much effort but the truth is that all it will take is large numbers of people to stand up to them.

    We’re also discouraged because we know that we will essentially need to wage a war against them to knock them down- not war in the traditional sense, but we’ll need an army of Americas to stand up to them and teach them a lesson about what can happen to big WRONG DOING companies like them. If we can all stand behind this cause, we can show the power of the people in a way that has never been shown before and we can discourage other similar companies from attempting the same, from thinking that they can get away with it. We have the power of this internet to make it happen, for the first time in history the people have this instant communication and can rally very fast- I believe this is the perfect time to use it because with global companies becoming stronger and stronger and richer and richer comes serious power that needs a proven counterbalance.

    There are so many reasons to want to edge out Oil and Coal companies as fast as possible. Everyone should think about the reasons and get siked up and talk about them. The more we talk, the more big oil and coal get scared and the more they and the rest of America invest their money where it should be- in solar, wind, wave, fuelcells (powered by solar), and geothermal (NOT ETHONAL OR BIOFUELS).

    Anyone else who is reading this and who is encouraged, please do respond with a comment and pass this link along… If I hear from people in a positive way I will fight harder and smarter. I supposed that if I don’t hear much I’ll just lay down with everyone else and take it.

    Patrick

  • Patrick

    Seriously people, it will take America Rising Up against our government (the senate in particular) to stop the Oil Machine. It will take and army of civilians standing against them, exposing thier evils, identifying them, and making them seen by the public for who they are- greedy scum sucking pigs who work against us, and guess what- that army of civilains is being formed right now. Read on…

    Regarding the latest energy bill that lets BigOil get way with what they have done already:

    “We need to bring back the previously failed energy bill would have repealed the $18Billion of your tax dollars that went to Oil companies last year (while they made $123Billion record Profits off of you & robbed you at the pump & then they stole $18B of your tax dollars, I wont’ even get into the war and the pollution these people perpetuate). Democrats have tried three times to pass this bill but the senators that the Oil companies pay off have blocked it three times now in 6 months, because, obviously, they are getting paid to by big oil to keep blocking it (why would they want solar or alt fuels to become the new energy?). If this kind of corruption and outright thievery & immoral actions bothers you at all even in the slightest, then simply call your senators Here’s their phone numbers(http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm). These are the senators that are allowing big oil to rip you off at the pump and then steal your tax money. Perhaps you’d like to give them a quick call? I’ve called before every bill, they

    answer right away, it’s very simple… it’s just that not enough people are calling so they keep doing what they are doing….

    Please call and pass this email on… sincerely, I think this is one of the easiest and best things that any US citizen can do to show their government that you are serious about these changes and that you are payig attention. If they don’t think you’re paying attention, they really will keep on doing what they are doing…. thank you…..

    ===

    THESE SENATORS MAKE ME ALMOST AS SICK AS THE OIL COMPANIES DO AND OUR WEB SITE WILL BE ETHCHING THEIR NAMES IN HISTORY – EACH SENATOR THAT VOTES (voted) AGAINST for GIVING BigOil $18Billion of our money and each senator who blocked the energy bill WILL BE RECORDED CLEARLY ON THE SITE – WHEN WE LOOK BACK IN HISTORY AT WHO KEPT OIL AROUND TO Pullute and rip off and wage wars over THESE PEOPLE WILL BE REMEMBERED!!!

    Oil and COAL – THE ROOT OF THE MAJORITY OF ALTERABLE EVIL IN THE WORLD TODAY.

    THE WAR ON OIL is ON!

    I hope you’ll join us soon!

    Patrick”

    The more good feedback and comments that I get about posts like this one here, the more encouraged I am to help to spread the word and gear America up for a fight against these real world villains – Oil and Coal. We are sooooo complacent because we feel there is nothing we can do to stop them, or that it would take too much effort but the truth is that all it will take is large numbers of people to stand up to them.

    We’re also discouraged because we know that we will essentially need to wage a war against them to knock them down- not war in the traditional sense, but we’ll need an army of Americas to stand up to them and teach them a lesson about what can happen to big WRONG DOING companies like them. If we can all stand behind this cause, we can show the power of the people in a way that has never been shown before and we can discourage other similar companies from attempting the same, from thinking that they can get away with it. We have the power of this internet to make it happen, for the first time in history the people have this instant communication and can rally very fast- I believe this is the perfect time to use it because with global companies becoming stronger and stronger and richer and richer comes serious power that needs a proven counterbalance.

    There are so many reasons to want to edge out Oil and Coal companies as fast as possible. Everyone should think about the reasons and get siked up and talk about them. The more we talk, the more big oil and coal get scared and the more they and the rest of America invest their money where it should be- in solar, wind, wave, fuelcells (powered by solar), and geothermal (NOT ETHONAL OR BIOFUELS).

    Anyone else who is reading this and who is encouraged, please do respond with a comment and pass this link along… If I hear from people in a positive way I will fight harder and smarter. I supposed that if I don’t hear much I’ll just lay down with everyone else and take it.

    Patrick

  • Dave

    Yeah, and guess what’s under the melting arctic?

  • Dave

    Yeah, and guess what’s under the melting arctic?

  • Just Watching

    With congress having port folio’s loaded with oil, gas,coal and defence contractors I wouldn’t be holding my breath waiting for government to get things going. With about a trillion barels of recoverable crude, billions of tons of coal and god only knows how much Gas they only have to stir the mid east and send our kids to the meat grinder to raise the price of oil $1 and they make another trillion dollars.

    Any one think they will leave more than a 100 trillion dollars of business in the ground?

  • Just Watching

    With congress having port folio’s loaded with oil, gas,coal and defence contractors I wouldn’t be holding my breath waiting for government to get things going. With about a trillion barels of recoverable crude, billions of tons of coal and god only knows how much Gas they only have to stir the mid east and send our kids to the meat grinder to raise the price of oil $1 and they make another trillion dollars.

    Any one think they will leave more than a 100 trillion dollars of business in the ground?

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