FLEXIBLE SOLAR CELLS- A NEW TREND IN SOLAR MARKET
Solar PV technology is rapidly advancing every year and applications are identified for specific use. One of the latest development is the introduction of flexible solar cells and modules. Traditionally, solar cells are flat and non-flexible type if they are made of crystalline silicon. Hence, it is difficult to adopt fixed rigid solar panels in the application where it requires to adopt the surface of the installation. However, recently MIT researchers have introduced ultra thin solar cells with graphene instead of silicon. This makes the use of ultra thin cells in a flexible laminate. The flexible solar panels are finding applications in electric vehicles, boards and many of the the BIP (Building Integrated Photovoltaic) applications.
Flexible solar panels have the advantage that they does not require structure to install it on the surface. As the flexible solar panels are installed on existing surface, it has ease of installation as compared to traditional solar panels. Hence, the installation cost in flexible solar panel is relatively less. The household applications where roof spaces is not available, however the facades is available or the domes are available. Flexible solar panels are good option to meet the electricity requirement of such households.
Introduction of flexible solar panels has led to a light weight installation in farm houses. Though most of the flexible solar panels are available from thin film technology, the flexible solar panels from thin film technology are less efficient as compared to the flexible panels based on mono or poly crystalline technology. In future, partial flexible solar panels based on mono or poly crystalline technology with high efficiency cells will lead the market specially in case of electrical vehicle segment.