PowerFilm Solar Inc

Thin-Film

Hand flexing thin film amorphous silicon solar panel

PowerFilm’s flagship thin-film material is based on Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) PV technology. This technology is highly flexible, durable, lightweight, and has excellent indoor and low light performance. 

 

Thin-film modules are made by depositing a-Si onto a flexible polyimide substrate using proprietary roll to roll vacuum deposition, and monolithic interconnect systems. Since manufacturing is completely roll-to-roll, new designs can quickly scale to high volume. 

 

Below (top) shows a spectral comparison of the different light sources. Below (bottom) shows the quantum efficiency a-Si, c-Si, CIGS, and GaAs Solar Technology.

Grap showing Light spectrum of the Sun, LEDs, Fluorescents, and Incandescents

Graph showing the Quantum efficiency of a-Si, c-Si, CIGS, and GaAs Solar Technology

Features

 

Indoor/Low Light Performance

  • Rated at 200 lux light level*

  • Outperforms crystalline and other thin-film technologies in many real-world environments collecting energy in cloudy, shady, hazy environments where crystalline panels will not

Customization

  • Sizes range from inches to feet

  • Power: Voltage, Current, Light Level

Thickness

  • 0.2 mm thickness *

Flexibility

  • Highly flexible and conformable around simple curves and surfaces. 

  • 1 Inch fixed bend radius

  • 3 Inch repetitive bend radius

Light-Weight

  • One of the lightest PV solutions available. 

  • Critical in portable applications

Temperature Resistant

  • Experiences less than half the degradation compared to traditional solar material at elevated temperatures. 

  • 0.19% degradation per degree C over 25C

  • -40-85 C Operation. Higher temperatures are possible.  

Monolithic Interconnect

  • Resilient to damage and puncturing

  • Increased Shade Tolerance

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Durability

  • Hail Resistant

  • MILSTD810G

 

Applications

 

IoT

This technology is easily customizable, so it is well suited to meet the diverse power needs of sensors and wireless devices of the growing IoT industry. 

  • Sensors 

  • Wireless Nodes 

  • Beacons 

  • ePaper Displays

  • Active RFID 

  • BLE/LoRa/Cellular Trackers 

  • Low Power Gateways 

  • Smart Locks

  • Switches

  • Low Power Actuators


 

Portable Power

Lightweight amorphous silicon panels can be combined into larger arrays that can roll or fold up into compact spaces, making them an excellent fit for applications where portability and durability are critical. 

  • Man-Portable Military Grade Solutions

  • Emergency Preparedness

  • Photography/Videography Equipment

  • Camping and Hiking Expeditions

  • Vehicle charging

  • Boating

 

Manufacturing Process

 

 

Take a look behind the scenes into our innovative production process and learn how we turn the raw solar film into finished products for companies, the United States military, and consumers everywhere (produced by Definition Media Ltd as part of the Wicked Inventions series).

 

Roll-To-Roll Manufacturing

Roll-to-roll manufacturing significantly reduces manufacturing costs. Our company was the first and remains the only company in the world that manufactures and sells monolithically-integrated solar panels on plastic using a true roll-to-roll manufacturing process. The solar material is 13 inches wide and up to 2,400 feet long.

 

Polymer Substrate

Flexible yet durable polyimide substrate results in enhanced flexibility, paper thinness, and lighter weight. The substrate is as thin as 1mil (0.025mm) thick.

 

Thin-Film Amorphous Silicon

Amorphous silicon is the absorber layer in the solar panels. The amount of silicon used in PowerFilm solar panels is as low as 1 percent of the amount used in traditional solar panels. PowerFilm has a strong environmental profile and is cadmium free. Single and tandem junction devices are manufactured. Finished panels are encapsulated in materials appropriate for the application environment.

 

Monolithic Integration

Monolithic integration is the automatic built-in-connection of individual solar cells. Monolithic integration reduces manufacturing costs (eliminates expensive labor for manual connection/tiling of cells) and increases durability (eliminates stress-prone manual connections of individual solar cells).

 

Encapsulation

To optimize the tradeoffs between product functionality, lifetime and cost, the core solar panels are encapsulated in various materials to meet the requirements of diverse applications and use environments.

 

Backing Materials

The solar panels can be combined with several backing materials, including fabric, metal, and fiberglass.

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