Posts Tagged ‘solar panel’

Spray-on films turns any windows to Solar Panel

Sunday, August 29th, 2010


Photo courtesy of Gizmag

Imagine if all the windows of a building, and perhaps even all its exterior walls, could be put to use as solar collectors. Soon, you may not have to imagine it, as the Norweigan solar power company EnSol has patented a thin film solar cell technology designed to be sprayed on to just such surfaces. Unlike traditional silicon-based solar cells, the film is composed of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix, and operates on a different principle. EnSol is now developing the product with help from the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

“One of the key advantages is that it is a transparent thin film that can be coated onto window glass so that windows in buildings can also become power generators,” said Chris Binns, Professor of Nanotechnology at Leicester. “Obviously some light has to be absorbed in order to generate power but the windows would just have a slight tinting (though a transmission of only 8-10% is common place for windows in the ‘sun belt’ areas of the world). Conversely the structural material of the building can also be coated with a higher degree of absorption. This could be side panels of the building itself, or even in the form of ‘clip-together’ solar roof tiles.”

Research partners are developing prototype squares of the material, measuring 16 square centimeters each. Ultimately, EnSol hopes to achieve a cell efficiency of at least 20 percent, and have its product ready for the commercial market by 2016.

This development is reminiscent of Sphelar cells – solidified silicon drop-based solar cells recently developed by Kyosemi Corporation. Although the technology is different, they are also intended to be used in solar panels that double as windows.

Courtesy of Gizmag

Assemble your own solar panel

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Since there’s almost any size and shape of solar panel available for purchase from a myriad of vendors across the Internet why would anybody want to go through the hassle of tabbing together their own cells to build a solar panel? Because you can, obviously. This DIY video will run through the basics of chaining together polycrystalline cells and leaves the details like enclosure and such to the user.

courtesy: Make

ABB automates solar cell chemical technology

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Evonik Industries, a leading chemical, energy and real estate company based in Essen, Germany, is the world’s largest producer of ultra-pure chemicals for the photovoltaic industry. It chose ABB’s flagship System 800xA automation platform to control the complex production process at its new site expansion in Germany.

The expansion will enable Evonik to triple production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, raw material in the production of photovoltaic (PV) silicon. PV silicon is the substance from which solar-grade silicon wafers are made, which are the key components in solar cells and solar power systems.

Photovoltaic or solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity, and are commonly made of silicon (like the blocks above), a semiconductor material. When light strikes the cell, it creates a flow of electrons, or an electrical current.

Evonik is the world’s leading supplier of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, and the only company to operate dedicated chlorosilane production sites for the fast-growing solar energy industry.

The company’s lead site for the production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes is at Bitterfeld in Germany, which is one of the largest chemical parks in Europe.

When the Bitterfeld plant expansion is completed early in 2009, it will be linked by pipeline to an adjoining factory currently being built by PV Crystalox Solar, the world’s largest manufacturer of multi-crystalline wafers for solar cell modules.

To ensure production reliability and process excellence at the site, Evonik selected ABB to evolve and expand the existing distributed control system into a new plant-wide solution.

The solution is based on ABB’s flagship automation platform, Extended Automation System 800xA – ranked by automation industry analyst ARC Advisory Group as the world’s leading distributed control system.

Solar cell technology has progressed significantly, and the energy payback time of a modern photovoltaic module is typically from 1 to 4 years.

The solution enables Evonik to enhance its existing ABB Advant open control system to the latest version of System 800xA without interrupting production at the plant.

It allows Evonik to retain existing application programs and AC450 controllers and integrate them with new AC800M and AC800M HI (high integrity) controllers, Information Management software and System 800xA workplaces. ABB is also providing S900 explosion-proof I/O modules for high-risk production zones.

ABB supplied a similar solution for chlorosilane production to Wacker Chemie in for its production plant in Neunchritz, Germany, and is supplying the power plant automation system for Europe’s largest solar power plant, currently under construction in Spain.

Key features of Evonik’s installation based on System 800xA include:

  • integrated safety and control functions
  • emergency shutdown and rapid restart in critical situations
  • full installation without interrupting production at the existing plant
  • Evonik retains existing application programs which are integrated with new controllers, software and workplaces

Source: ABB