March 13, 2008

Got an Inkjet Printer? Make Solar Film

konarkasolar.jpg Traditionally, solar energy has been expensive, at a cost of about $7.00 per watt; however, now, Massachusetts based Konarka has successfully developed a new process to manufacture solar cells with an inkjet printer.

"Demonstrating the use of inkjet printing technology as a fabrication tool for highly efficient solar cells and sensors with small area requirements is a major milestone," commented Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka. "This essential breakthrough in the field of printed solar cells positions Konarka as an emerging leader in printed photovoltaics."
The solar cells are made without silicon and are manufactured into a thin, light film and do not require a clean room like traditional silicon cells. These organic (carbon/plastic/oil) cells aren't as efficient as their silicon counterparts, but their production cost is much less. Hmm, now what to do with solar film? The company has suggested "putting its plastic on soft drink bottles in stores for advertising," but I am not sure this really matches the sustainable values of the solar industry.

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at March 13, 2008 5:40 AM

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