It is true that the technology used in the manufacture of thin film solar has been used for quite a while. However, it is only relatively recently that it has been possible to fashion out full fledged solar modules built on the technology. They are so named because they are manufactured from amorphous non-crystalline silicon. This is in contrast to the hard and bulky crystalline design of traditional modules.
Modules made from thin film have a number of attractive features that lender them as ideal for a variety of applications. To begin with, they are much less bulky than tradition PV moduels. The panels are as well more resistant wind lifting even in areas that have high incidences of violent weather. They are also sturdy enough and, provided one is sufficiently careful, they can be walked on harmlessly.
Being a relatively novel technology, there are some features that are a definite drawback to this the use of thin film in a number of applications. While there are many promising changes, their efficiency levels are relatively lower. As time goes by though, these modules are expected to beat and even exceed the efficiencies of traditional technologies. When they first entered the scene, these modules were priced highly but this has almost been evened out.
Going by news doing the rounds about massive investments by venture capitalists and government research bodies in development of this novel technology there is every reason to be hopeful. Whether you are a conscientious homeowner or a passionate green advocate, this technology has all ingredients that should get you positively excited. While years ago claims that thin film had the potential to help the world attain grid parity ideals were laughable, this is a definite possibility as matters stand.
Worth of particular mention is a recent study carried out by Solarbuzz, a leading industrial think tank and innovator. In a detailed analysis of changes in solar module prices across the past ten years, they found that there has been a decidedly steep decline. What is significant is that these declines were mostly notable in the year 2011 where the reductions witnessed in continental United States and Europe outstripped any other observation made down the decade.
The data available points to a definite trend: further price reductions at present and in the future. The explanation for this is that government subsidies have significantly been stepped up. Further to this increased demand and production efficiencies mean that leading manufacturers can offer their customers even lower prices going forward.
An interesting industrial milestone was marked near the end of November 2011 when Solibro, a constituent company of Q-Cells SE of Germany announced that they had broken the world record for thin film cell efficiency. This is after independently conducted tests showed that a prototype module they designed was able to convert the sun’s energy to solar with efficiencies of 17.4%. What was significant about this record was that the technology used is fully scalable in producing full-scale modules for the mass market.
These are indeed very exciting times in the solar energy industry with the innovations being made counting for so much. Advances being made today are bound to prove crucial in the years ahead as the world seeks even more workable renewable energy solutions. Solar thin film has really proven to be a technology that has enormous potential for a range of applications.
There is a wealth of useful information available at the Solar Systems USA internet solar store to enable you take the most well informed renewable energy choices. Our online solar store is full of low priced deals on solar modules as well as related accessories