Nanosolar PowerSheet: Thin, Inexpensive Solar Panels

popsci_solar.jpg

Popular Science‘s Green “Grand Award Winner” this year is the super-thin “PowerSheet” solar panels from Nanosolar, which are both thin and inexpensive to produce. PowerSheet is printed on “sheets as thin as aluminum foil.”

Nanosolar’s cells use no silicon, and the company’s manufacturing process allows it to create cells that are as efficient as most commercial cells for as little as 30 cents a watt. “You’re talking about printing rolls of the stuff–printing it on the roofs of 18-wheeler trailers, printing it on garages, printing it wherever you want it,” says Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. “It really is quite a big deal in terms of altering the way we think about solar and in inherently altering the economics of solar.”

Now they need to mold this stuff directly into the plastic housings of gadgets to help keep the battery topped off.

THE NEW DAWN OF SOLAR [PopSci.com]

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Nanosolar PowerSheet: Thin, Inexpensive Solar Panels

  1. RyanH says:

    I think that it would be really slick to build this into laptop cases. If it was embedded into the case material, it could give a very unique look to the finish while providing a nice little passive boost.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What makes this solar cell exciting is that is isn’t dreamware but is being produced on “printing presses”. The cost per watt is $0.30 per watt compared to $1 for current technology. The first year’s manufacturing run is already sold to Europe.

  3. Simon Greenwood says:

    I would happily put this on my roof, as long as it could survive a British winter… I suspect we’d have to at least cover it with plastic to survive rain, snow and wind.

  4. Anonymous says:

    the solar shingles sounds great but what about when someone needs to get on the roof,they would slip or even damage the cells when walking on them unless there was a platform to walk on.

  5. blammo5000 says:

    I’m going to make the obligatory “It will never see the light of day when the oil companies hear about this.” Someone has to take the hit to keep the trolls from nipping at our heals.

    That said, I look forward to the day when one of these producers of ultra cheap solar cells actually manages to get production rolling. If they need funding, I have a sawbuck in my wallet that has just been waiting to turn the world on its head. Really. It won’t shut up about it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about surge protection?

  7. tp1024 says:

    Thanks for posting a price as well. Powering my laptop with a $6 device (about 4 Euro if we wait a bit) is a nice thought. Ok, in sunshine, without charging batteries … but anyway, would be nice. Though I won’t start to freak out until I hold it in my hand. (Trust me, if it happens, even for 50 (eur)ct. per watt, I will.)

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am interesting in doing science fair “nano solar cell ” does anyone know where I can buy these from?

  9. a random John says:

    Mold it into plastic gadgets? Why not think big? How about making shingles with this as the top layer?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Nano Solar has been blowing smoke up our behinds for 4 years. We won’t see this product for residential use in our lifetime. Guess they are Bonnie and Clyde, “why do you rob banks?”…”we go where the money is”! May as well bite the bullet and buy silicon panels. At least they can deliver and they will give you specs that are confirmed. I’ve never seen the first spec on thin film from Nano. Guess their output per SF isn’t too impressive if they don’t want to discuss it. I’m really tired of receiving their emails about all their awards. Show me the money and stop the smoke and mirrors.

    Capt. Ron

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is sad to me when ppl start knocking something without knowing anything about it. Comments like:

    1. The shingles would be a great idea if the material had a decent lifespan but I am thinking the extra heat load from the radiant heat in the attic might make them quicker to fail than say the top of a semi that has a good breeze to keep it cool.

    2. I suspect we’d have to at least cover it with plastic to survive rain, snow and wind.

    3. It will never see the light of day when the oil companies hear about this…

    Come on people! You think that the engineers don’t know you wanna product that lasts? They give you a 25 year warranty, but they hadn’t realized you might put it on your roof? Might cost ‘em a bit of money to replace all your cells then, wouldn’t it, when they all fail after being, y’know, _rained or snowed on_.

    so, to respond more specifically:

    1. They test these products in overly-extreme environments (extra high UV, heat, etc) and still have no problem warranteeing them for 25 years. And I doubt they were thinking they would only be used on semis….

    2. I realize the environment in the UK is torturous, but they may actually have considered that country as a potential market. Perhaps with that 3rd world economy and among the cheapest electric rates in the world they didn’t think they would find any customers in that little country north of France, but then again, they just might have been that smart.

    3. Never see the light of day? The whole point of the award is that it _has_ seen the light of day. They’ve sold a boatload of cells already, a requirement for a reward from popsci as those guys are looking for _products_, not _research_ to give their awards to. Had you read the comments above, you might have noticed that the product was already on sale. Or had you read the article itself you might see that it says the cells, “are both thin and inexpensive to produce. PowerSheet is printed on “sheets as thin as aluminum foil.””

    Or you might have seen, “Nanosolar’s cells use no silicon”….Telling present tense from future can be tricky, but if you are going to criticize a product, it might be nice if you criticized it for what it is – not what you imagine it will be, if all your fears were fact.


    Off to bed for me, but hopefully others reading this won’t be misled about what truly is a revolutionary product.

    But if you want to worry about a real concern: Notice how you hear a lot about their production prices, but nothing about prices for the end user? So far every single bit of production has been sold under contract to large corporations, and all of them in Europe. But the manufacturing plant is in the states (altho’ there is one being built in europe now). So even if we could find out the prices paid under contract, that would be a hopelessly impenetrable mix of
    1) Bulk Pricing
    2) Overseas Shipping
    3) EU Tarrifs
    4) R&D payback
    _and_
    5) Manufacturer’s cost.

    But when will we see these offered to the home consumer?
    How much of R&D costs will be depreciated by then?
    How much of Plant Investment will be depreciated by then?

    And, since they are very far ahead of their competition, they may also price their cells higher simply because then can do that & still beat everyone else out.

    So will they choose to undercut the rest of the market by 10%? 30%? 50%? 75%? 90%?

    with avg cost to the consumer of other cells, they could actually undercut the rest of the market by a full 90% tho’ not much more than that.

    But what are they motivated to do on pricing? And how quickly will their stock sell out at a given price? Will we see waiting lists like for the Honda Insight when it first came out, or the Toyota Prius later?

    Now those are concerns justified by the facts.

  12. Senseless says:

    The shingles would be a great idea if the material had a decent lifespan but I am thinking the extra heat load from the radiant heat in the attic might make them quicker to fail than say the top of a semi that has a good breeze to keep it cool.

  13. cocobolo1 says:

    Did any of you see the piece on the company on TV a couple of nights ago? Fantastic!
    These guys have done the deed that off grid folks have been waiting for.
    The holy grail of photovoltaic panel pricing has long been $1 a watt.
    I think the line forms on the right people, me first.
    I have been off grid for 11 years, and even though I have a fully automated system, except for the backup generator, I will be right there as soon as they are made available to the general public.
    I have already contacted the Minister of Energy for our province (BC) to see what can be done to bring this technology to Canada. I, for one, can’t wait.
    It may not sink in to those of you who still think that your power comes from a plug in the wall for some time, but this is a truly incredible feat which will go at least part way toward improving our environment.
    Well done fellas!!!!

  14. Mickey says:

    The solar panel comprise just one part of a solar electric system. You would also need an inverter, to convert the DC from the panels to AC for appliances. That is unless you have outfitted your home with DC powered appliances and lights. Not a bad thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

More BB

Boing Boing Video

Flickr Pool

Digg

Wikipedia

Advertise

Displays ads via FM Tech

RSS and Email

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Boing Boing is a trademark of Happy Mutants LLC in the United States and other countries.

FM Tech