You may have come to picture solar panels as rectangles angled toward the sun atop homes and businesses across the country. What you're picturing is most likely an array of silicon-based solar panels -- which come in two common "flavors," monocrystalline and polycrystalline. But next time you see such a system, take a good look... maybe even snap a picture. There's an emerging kind of solar panel that could soon make today's standard model look as old as your dad's Walkman: thin-film solar. There's been a lot of talk about this kind of technology lately, so we thought it wise to explain a bit about solar thin-film technology.
Earlier this week, Global Solar Energy officials announced the company's CIGS technology is powering an 820-kilowatt (kW) solar energy system for a plastics manufacturing business in northern Italy. By Global Solar accounts, it is the biggest CIGS rooftop solar energy system in the world.
Colorado-based Ascent Solar Technologies has announced a new peak efficiency for their CIGS solar modules, Greentech Media reports. At 11 percent, the gain is a significant jump over a previous average efficiency of about 9 percent. Ascent produces flexible thin film solar which lays a chemical compound (copper indium gallium selenide, hence the CIGS) on plastic rolls.