PowerFilm is a global solar technology company located in Ames, Iowa, USA, that manufactures flexible solar panels with a thin film plastic substrate.
PowerFilm currently offers no residential or commercial building integrated solutions. We specialize in lightweight and portable solar solutions.
Thin film amorphous silicon photovoltaics.
PowerFilm is manufactured using an internally developed, proprietary manufacturing processes. The core process is a true roll-to-roll process. The general process steps are Vacuum Deposition (Back Metal, Amorphous Silicon, Transparent Top Contact), Printing and Laser Scribing, Bus Bar/Lead Attachment, Encapsulation, and Die Cutting. PowerFilm is patterned on a 13-inch wide web on a roll up to 2400 feet long.
Take a look behind the scenes into our innovative production process and learn how we turn raw solar film into finished products for companies, the United States military and consumers everywhere. (First video segment produced by Definition Media Ltd as part of the Wicked Inventions series)
The proprietary roll-to-roll semiconductor manufacturing process of PowerFilm, Inc. enables lower-cost manufacturing and enhanced product functionality through ease of customization.
PowerFilm is very thin, like paper. Encapsulated modules range from 0.22mm (8 mil) to 1.22mm (44 mil) thick. The thin aspect of PowerFilm allows it to be ultra flexible.
PowerFilm is so flexible it can be curved around a cylinder 2 inches in diameter. This is possible because PowerFilm has a plastic (polyimide) substrate. PowerFilm is the most flexible solar panel technology in the marketplace.
PowerFilm solar panels can be used for both large and small-scale power generation. Panels are designed to be ultra-light and can power devices directly or recharge batteries.
This depends on the product, but as a general rule, the wattage that is listed on a solar panel is in ideal settings (angled towards the sun at peak times of solar collection). If you are seeing a drop off in performance when the panel is not angled towards the sun don't be alarmed. This performance is to be expected and should be something to account for when selecting a panel to charge whatever your end device might be.
Overall efficiency is strongly dependent on the module design configuration which determines the percentage of the area which is actually collecting sunlight. You can use 5% as a starting point. We have ongoing research and development programs to continue to improve the efficiency of PowerFilm panels. Note: There are widely varying standards for panel efficiency numbers. We encourage you to test actual commercially manufactured panels on a consistent basis.
The recommended temperature range is between -40 and 80°C. If you need something more extreme we can offer custom laminates to support your application. Contact us to learn more.
Standard products come in the following powerpoint voltages: 1.8, 3, 3.6, 4.2, 7.2, and 15.4. Custom voltages are available.
The encapsulation of the PowerFilm module will determine the life expectancy of the encapsulated module.
Photovoltaic Semiconductor Device - No particular life expectancy limitation in a protected environment.
Polyester Encapsulation - Limited to protected use (e.g., consumer electronics) or limited time outdoor use.
ETFE Encapsulation - Best protection for permanent outdoor use.
For more information read the PowerFilm warranty
Place the solar panel perpendicular to the sun for best performance.
Contact the company that sold you the product.
You can check your PowerFilm Solar Panel is functioning properly with a voltmeter.
We use Delphi marine-grade connectors.
Yes, the length of an accessory cable will have an effect on performance. For larger panels, a heavier gauge of wire is required for best results. Specific questions? Contact us to learn more.
Yes, you just need to ensure that the voltages match.
Butyl backed panels have a 2-year shelf life from date of manufacture when in humidity-controlled storage (10°C/50°F to 27°C/80°F and <75% relative humidity). We recommend installation within one year of receiving the panel for best results and ease of installation.
PowerFilm panels are 100% non-toxic. They contain no heavy metals or toxins and therefore can be disposed of in the standard waste stream. The exception to this rule is for areas with specific waste rules designating all electronic devices to not be disposed of in the standard waste stream. In this case, follow the rules of the specific municipality for disposal.