04 Mar '12, 7am

Breakthrough in Flexible High Efficiency Solar Panels Demonstrated on Ski Helmet

Breakthrough in Flexible High Efficiency Solar Panels Demonstrated on Ski Helmet

Frauenhofer-Institut IZM /Promo image Think about the things you have seen boasting solar panels for powering gadgets on the go. They all fit into two categories: stiff, flat solar cells applied in small tiles to create a somewhat flexible surface or "flexible" solar panels -- which are, in fact, only flexible in one direction. They can be rolled into a cylinder, but not curved around a three dimensional object like a sphere. More flexibility often means less efficiency as well. Thanks to a breakthrough in solar cell structure and encapsulation techniques by the Frauenhofer Institute , solar cells integrated into complex surfaces are expected to be on the shelves by the end of this year. The high efficiency (>20 percent) solar panels based on mono-crystalline silicon also reduce the risk of breakage and can be laid out redundantly, so that even if a cell breaks, solar powe...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/breakthrough-flexible-h...

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