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Advances in Solar Cell Materials - Mapping the Starting Points

SpecialChem / May 19, 2011

The global solar or photovoltaic (PV) market will reach 7.8 gigawatts (GW) in 2010 according to Solarbuzz LLC, up from 5.95 GW in 2008. The market for new solar modules is expected to grow to 35 GW by 2015. Europe, United States and Asia/Pacific accounted for 96% of global PV demand in the most recent full year 2010. The total materials market for PV is expected to climb from $2 billion in 2010 to around $9 billion by 2015. BioBacksheet developed by BioSolar Inc. from renewable plant sources is intended as an alternative to petroleum-based back sheet, such as Tedlar PVF (polyvinyl fluoride) traditionally used in photovoltaic modules. High gas barrier PV back sheet, Back-Barrier X-Barrier based on OPET (oriented PET) was recently introduced to the global market by Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc. Evonik has been developing a multilayer Rohaglas film consisting of several functional and bonding layers with an outer PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate, acrylic) layer as a glass replacement in front sheet applications.

Tectosil, a novel silicone based polymer sheet from Wacker Chemie for encapsulation of solar modules, is thermoformable. Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have found that adding silver nanoparticles to an experimental 'solar cell polymer' boosted the electric current generated by approximately 12% from 6.3 milli-amps/cm2 to 7.0 milli-amps/cm2 . Researchers at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Lakewood (Denver), Colorado, have been studying ways to enhance solar-energy conversion through surface plasmons. Attraction of solar or photovoltaic (PV) devices to make electricity out of sunlight include no noise pollution, little or no maintenance, no environmental pollution, and no depletion of fossil fuel based materials.

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