Ultra thin and flexible solar “wallpaper” by Sunflare
Solar panels are all the rage. More and more homes have them installed on the roofs to cut the costs of electricity. However, still only 2 per cent of the world’s total energy production is solar. To speed up the development, the US start-up company Sunflare introduces a new type of solar panel, which is thin, flexible and light, like wallpaper. They call it Capture4.
The development process took sixteen years, but the company finally managed to create the solar panel. The panels are a variation of the CIGS (copper, indium, gallium selenide) type solar cell. These types of solar cells are more expensive to produce than regular crystalline silicon panels, until now. The Sunflare panels are flexible because they do not use a glass substrate. Instead, their substrate is thin, high quality stainless steel. The Sunflare panels are 65 per cent lighter than conventional crystalline silicon ones, because there are made of thinner layers of chemicals, along with the substrate.
Because they are so thin, the panels do not need a rack to be hanged up. They can be put into place by using special two-sided tape on nearly every surface. Thanks to their flexibility, they can even be placed on curved surfaces. However, Sunflare’s panels are not the first flexible solar panels.
The Sunflare panels are supposed to generate 10 per cent more energy than common solar panels, because of two reasons. Firstly, they have a better low light performance. This means they can generate more energy at dawn and dusk. Secondly, because the panels also perform better at high temperatures, they generate more power at midday.
What’s more, the solar panels do not rely on toxic chemicals. No lead, cadmium, hydrofluoric acid or hydrochloric acid is used in the production process. The panels also use less water to produce, and the water that is used is mostly recycled. The materials can also be recycled when spent.
The company promises that with volume production, the already competing costs can be reduced to one-fourth the cost of silicon.
Sounds too good to be true? The Sunflare panels are not on the market yet, despite the fact that the company claims to have produced functioning solar cells last year and planned to commence manufacturing on a large scale this summer. However, an article on their website tells us that they donated several solar panels to villages in Ghana, where there was no electricity before.
If you want more information on how to obtain these solar panels, you can contact Sunflare here.
Photos via Sunflaresolar.com