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Nanosolar ships 'cheap' solar cells

Nanosolar ships 'cheap' solar cells

We're 99% certain that Nanosolar's CEO is more than just a creepy floating head. Probably.

Photovoltaic specialist Nanosolar has, after five long years, finally got a product out of the door. In a post to the Nanosolar Blog CEO Martin Roscheisen announced the shipping of the worlds first thin-film printed solar panel.

Using a method developed by the firm five years ago which involves printing the cells in a thin film on a back panel, Nanosolar believes that it has finally cracked the main problem preventing commercial exploitation of solar power: cost. The new panels will ship for around 50p ($1 for our American friends) per watt, which compares pretty favourably to traditional energy generation via coal.

The first panel off the production line has been taken aside as a show piece, and the third was donated to the Tech Museum in San Jose. The second panel, however, is being used as a rather odd promotional item: the company is flogging it via online tat bazaar eBay.

If you've a few thousand burning a hole in your pocket, you can get bidding here. Don't expect a fully-working panel though - it's being sold “as-is”, which on eBay usually means “broken.” Not exactly the best advert for Nanosolar's new technology.

The first proper commercial run (hopefully in fully-working form) is due to be installed in a planned megawatt solar farm in Germany.

Hoping to get your house off the grid, or do you think solar power is still too expensive and unreliable for full-scale deployment? Perhaps you're just hoping to get a cheap solar charger for your laptop? Let us know via the forums.

15 Comments

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RinSewand 19th December 2007, 15:43 Quote
hrmmm, looks like it could be a good way to justify the folding farm! Wonder when they're going to start selling the cheep ones commercially

RwD
MrWillyWonka 19th December 2007, 15:51 Quote
If it becomes more affordable (as in < £250 for me) to be able to solely power my computer and monitor then I would definitely buy a panel, it would save money in the long run and with a 25 year warranty I don't see why people shouldn't have this as "essential hardware". :)
<A88> 19th December 2007, 16:18 Quote
Very nice :) I definitely wouldn't mind one or two if they were practical enough to install and run- as RinSewand said, it would justify running something like a home server 24/7 where power consumption has been my only turn-off.

<A88>
wuyanxu 19th December 2007, 17:03 Quote
so they've finally managed to produce the 2nd generation solar cells. but problem is, what is the efficiency? and that is its life time? (solar cells degrade, cheaper ones degrade faster)

i think it's better to produce super high efficient solar cells, and then use mirror arrays to have higher intensity of light rather than cheap, soon-to-wear-out solar cells
leexgx 19th December 2007, 18:39 Quote
that bid is at £5000 heh

most likely going to take 5-10 years before solar panels become affordable, taken 10 years just to nock off £5000 ish to fit them fully
Cupboard 19th December 2007, 19:51 Quote
At the moment, I think we are best just sticking to huge arrays of mirrors that heat water - they are fairly cheap, fairly efficient and very simple. Unlike this. Time will tell though - we really need to progress in the renewable area, although I think we need to go nuclear now, to buy us time to develop new tech.
willyolio 19th December 2007, 22:14 Quote
now if only i had a tesla roadster...
BurningFeetMan 19th December 2007, 22:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cupboard
At the moment, I think we are best just sticking to huge arrays of mirrors that heat water - they are fairly cheap, fairly efficient and very simple. Unlike this. Time will tell though - we really need to progress in the renewable area, although I think we need to go nuclear now, to buy us time to develop new tech.

Don't forget the solar panels have their place too. You can cover the roof tops of the urban sprawl with them. Or you can take them camping to power & recharge your laptop. :)
Andy Mc 19th December 2007, 23:25 Quote
OK seriously, who is going to spend the current asking price, US $10,300.00 , on a solar panel that they will not get until 2009?

From the fleabay auction:

"This solar panel is currently in Seller’s possession but it will be held in escrow until 6/1/2009 before local pick-up by the winning bidder (or shipment at cost to the winning bidder)."

WTF?
woodshop 20th December 2007, 00:37 Quote
At $1 a watt thats is only $2 to $3 thousand to power most houses... thats a far cry from the current $25 to $30 thousand or more...
That said even IF they only last 10 years instead of 25 your still saving a crap load from the current tech.
sendrome 20th December 2007, 05:38 Quote
Is that the CEO of Nanosolar or Robin Williams?
Cptn-Inafinus 20th December 2007, 10:42 Quote
Well well well. This is certianly intresting technology. I imagine lots of public service building such as school and what not using this kind of technology prodominantly. I mean there is alot of area on these buildings roofs.
Javerh 20th December 2007, 16:22 Quote
Don't forget the need for backup power. Nobody likes their Crysis interrupted by a lone cloud in the sky.
Cthippo 20th December 2007, 20:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Javerh
Don't forget the need for backup power. Nobody likes their Crysis interrupted by a lone cloud in the sky.

Sure, but that works both ways. When you are generating more power than you need you provide someone elses backup power. In theory, this could work very well, when you are running an excess of power you sell it to the grid and when you run a deficit you buy it from the grid. The grid managemnt company charges a small spread on the buy/sell prices to cover maintainence and also handles transmission from conventional plants needed to make up for large consumers. The technology for this kind of distribution currently exists, what's lacking is suitable microgenerators.
DXR_13KE 20th December 2007, 22:18 Quote
there is also some guys that are making solar paint......
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