Solar energy is the fastest growing alternative energy in the market today.
According to a study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the cost of a solar panel has dropped by more than 30 percent over the past decade.
And recent developments in thin film solar technology has only added fuel to the ever growing evolution away from nonrenewable energy.
Recently, Stanford researchers developed the world's first peel-and-stick, thin-film solar cells.
Thin Film Building integrated photovoltaics - roofing
Xiaolin Zheng of Standford's engineering department said that the new thin film stick and peel technology "gives thin-film solar cells flexibility and attachment potential we've never seen before and also reduces their general cost and weight."
Zheng went on to say "Now you can put solar panels on helmets, cell phones, convex windows, portable electronic devices, curved roofs, clothing--virtually anything."
How a Thin-film Silicon Solar Panel is Made
A solar panel made of thin-film photovoltaic cells (TFPV) is used in many different applications.
Thin-film solar cells are made by layering a thin film of photovoltaic material on a substrate.
The thickness can range from a few nanometers to tens of micrometers.
These are the most common PV materials used in the production of thin solar cells:
Building integrated photovoltaics
Thin film solar cells are commercially available for installation onto the roofs of buildings, either applied onto the finished roof, or integrated into the roof covering.
The advantage over traditional PV panels is that they are very low in weight, are not subject to wind lifting, and can be walked on (with care).
The disadvantages are increased cost and reduced efficiency.
A silicon thin film technology is being developed for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) in the form of semitransparent solar cells which can be applied as window glazing.
These cells function as window tinting while generating electricity.