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Thin Film Solar Cells Without Silicon

Solar Film

In our last article, we discussed thin film solar technology using amorphous silicon as the source of photovoltaic energy. A relative to the monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon technology used in most photovoltaic cells, amorphous silicon is a non-toxic and lightweight alternative to other thin films, but less effective on its own compared to monocrystalline solar cells. That is why Solaron only uses monocrystalline solar panels in all of its Sacramento and Northern California installations.

What About Thin Film Alternatives?

As alternatives to amorphous silicon, buyers can also purchase commercially available thin film technologies that use two different photovoltaic materials. These are cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin films and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin films. Like amorphous silicon, these films show potential in lab tests, but that has yet to translate to real-world applications. As one reviewer puts it, thin film installations suffer from “underwhelming efficiency averages” that even polycrystalline technology beats on a regular basis.

Another problem lies in their components. Since CdTe contains cadmium, it uses a known carcinogen for its photovoltaic effect. CIGS avoids this issue, but still requires significant quantities of rare metals. That makes it difficult to argue that these technologies are long-term solutions to world energy needs. Contrast that with silicon, one of the most common elements on planet Earth.

The SunPower Alternative

Monocrystalline silicon is still the industry leader for efficiency in solar electricity production. When you request the help of Solaron, you know that your rooftop will be put to maximum use to reduce your energy bill and carbon footprint.

This does not mean, however, that SunPower does not offer flexible solar cells. In a future article, we will discuss how the technology gurus at SunPower have even managed to produce monocrystalline silicon cells that flex for curved applications. Ingenuity like this is why Solaron trusts SunPower to help create “energy for life!”

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