Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Nanosolar: Solar Power for the Masses

Nanosolar, a Silicon-valley start-up has managed to do what a lot of people have been trying for a long time: they have developed solar cells which create energy that is cheaper than burning coal. That is a huge achievement considering cost was the biggest drawback for solar power generation.
What differentiates Nanosolar from others is that they focused on the manufacturing process instead of just increasing efficiency of the cells. The result is that they have managed to reduce the cost per watt to an amazing 33 cents. They plan to sell at $1 per watt, making them a tidy bit of profit.
They are using a mixture of Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide, which can achieve an efficiency of 19.5%. Others are also using the same mixture of elements as an alternative to Silicon, Silicon is a poor absorber of light and therefore the wafers must be thick. The new mixture allows coatings to be very thin and still convert energy at a good efficiency.
The company plans to begin full production in 2008.



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