Innovative Surface Treatments for Solar Cells
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Pursuits of highly efficient and reliable solar cells place high demands on the materials and processes used in their fabrication. For extraterrestrial cells, specific efficiency is of utmost importance, and thus the ability to reduce module weight without impacting efficiency is highly desirable. Flexible solar cells are a new direction in solar cell technology and robust substrates are required. Enabling technologies, including coatings and encapsulants for solar modules are being developed in parallel to provide benefits with respect to a broad set of critical needs including lowering weight, reducing manufacturing cost, enhancing durability, and improving efficiencies. This Phase II proposal addresses two critically essential surface treatments desired for space-based solar cells. One approach is devoted toward protecting the solar cell module from environmental degradation in space and the second one is related to enabling production of high efficiency cells through high temperature processing on metal foil substrates. Several solar cell manufacturers, developers and USAF prime contractors have been engaged in this effort with their firm commitment of resources for providing various materials, PV modules, and to provide testing services to validate the proposed technology. The proposed technology will be commercialized via strategic partnerships and licensing in Phase III. BENEFITS: Wide ranging benefits to both military and commercial sector are anticipated from successful completion of the Phase II effort. Significant weight reductions and improving flexibility will have a major impact on the space solar programs for DoD and certain commercial installations. In addition, enabling CIGS-based thin film PV devices with high cell efficiencies and reliable performance will also have large scale benefits to both DoD and the commercial sector. With the current energy crisis and need for increased national security, the proposed surface treatment technology will have broad impact with respect to both improving cell efficiency and decreasing PV module cost. In addition, there is an increasing demand for portable and flexible PV modules for remote power access and the proposed technology will play an enabling role in bringing such products to the market place. Longer lifetimes and higher cell efficiencies for space-based solar cells will help enhance US national security assets.
Small Business Information at Submission:
APPLIED THIN FILMS, INC.
1801 Maple Ave. Suite 5316 Evanston, IL 60201
Number of Employees: