14 Apr '16
Scientists at MISiS, one of Moscow’s top technology universities, in partnership with U.S. colleagues from the University of Texas at Dallas, have come up with a flexible solar panel that is said to be just 30% of the cost of silicon panels, portal Hi-tech.mail .
While Si-based solar panels are rigid and fragile, and silicon and gallium arsenide required for production are costly and toxic, at the core of the new bendable solar panel technology are thin-film elements based on perovskite, a hybrid metal-organic compound.
With the silicon solar panels, production costs about $300 per square meter. The new flexible technology makes it possible to produce a square meter for $100, with the competitive advantage growing exponentially with the manufacture of large quantities of the product. The new hybrid perovskite material is fairly easy to come by; it is obtainable from industrial chemical organic compounds and salts of some widespread metals.
The MISiS technology enables a solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency of about 15% now. The developers hope to reach 20+% in a near future.
According to Prof. Anvar Zakhidov, the project leader at MISiS, they put active layers of solar elements from liquid solutions on thin substrates. This means that the new solar panels can be placed everywhere, including roofs and building façade walls, casings of household electronics, etc., and even “energy curtains” can be made for homes and cars using the technology. The panel is applicable to a wide variety of materials, which also pushes overall costs down.