The noted flexible thin-film photovoltaic cell manufacturer Ascent Solar Technologies recently won a contract from Vanguard Space Technologies for the provision of said solar cells to be used in two Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) programs.
These flexible, lightweight, thin-film solar cells will be used, along with proprietary space environment protection technology belonging to Vanguard, in the creation of a “very thin, high power-to-weight ratio, large space solar array” designed specifically for use in space, and also in the creation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are partly powered by solar energy, via the inclusion of solar cells on their wings.
The solar cells provided will reportedly be optimized for the various uses — in space, and in the drones — through the use of Ascent Solar’s notable experience
“We are honored to have been chosen again by Vanguard Space Technologies for these projects,” stated Dr Joseph Armstrong, Chief Technology Officer of Ascent Solar. “Our existing flexible, monolithically integrated CIGS product represents an excellent starting point for a wide range of applications, including Vanguard’s space and UAV-based products. Our production CIGS represent an excellent option to futuristic solar cells where availability is as critical to mission success as our flexibility, light weight, and durability have been. Our growing relationship with Vanguard represents an exciting partnership for developing new products in these challenging markets.”
“Vanguard is pleased to have these opportunities to incorporate Ascent’s CIGS cells into our solar array modules”, stated Mr Matt Wrosch, Manager of Solar Power Systems at Vanguard. “The advent of our extreme environment thin film coatings, automated manufacturing friendly array design, and Ascent’s proven cell technology provides an excellent fit for our ongoing investigations into next generation durable, affordable, large-area space solar arrays and also extended range UAV solar wing-skins.”
Hmm. Solar-powered drones, huh? I can certainly think of more than a few uses just off the top of my head.
Image Credit: Ascent Solar
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