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Nanosolar Thin Technology About To Revolutionize Power Generation
A picture of the Nanosolar solar cell thin technology.

The way Nanosolar Corporation explains it, the future of energy generation just may be clean and non-poluting after all. Nanosolar is at the leading edge of new generation solar cell technologies that do not rely on expensive silicon. In fact, their process is less than one-half the cost and only 1/100th the thickness of traditional solar cells. Even more remarkable is that Nanosolar power cells can be "printed" on flexible substrates allowing for rapid scale production.

The company's mission?
A Solar Panel on Every BuildingĀ® -- so that buildings everywhere will be hybrid energy buildings, synergistically switching between clean locally-produced solar energy (used during peak-time electricity usage hours just when electricity is the most valuable) and grid-delivered backend power (delivered in the evening or whenever the solar resources are not available).

The company recently raised a $75 million Series C round of financing to fund ongoing development. Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), Benchmark Capital, OnPoint Technologies, and Mitsui participated in the round.

Here is how they explain Nanosolar's breakthrough technology:
The ability to architect and assemble materials on a nanometer scale now makes it possible to optimize solar cells at the very length scale at which the relevant photovoltaic semiconductor quantum-physics occurs. Molecular self-assembly techniques for instance now give us the unprecedented capability of designing and creating nanostructured materials with novel properties. Such techniques generally rely on formulas that control the precise, bottom-up chemical assembly of molecules into geometric structures composed of many molecules, e.g. in the 1nm to 100nm range.

In other words, nanotechnology allows them to dispense with expensive, difficult to manufacture elements of traditional solar cells. What remains is easy to produce using thin-film technology.

Even the normally staid Economist is excited by the news. "The technology exists to enable (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Robert Ouellette on 11/07
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