This week IDTechEx is holding its first event dedicated to Photovoltaic (PV) technologies beyond conventional silicon. It covers the increasing work on CIGS, CdTe, Organic PV and many other chemistry devices, offering benefits over conventional silicon PV such as cost, weight and ease of installation.
The first day of the event on Tuesday this week was attended by over 200 attendees from 12 countries. On Monday, June 16, there were tours to NREL, the organization which benchmarks PV technologies, and to Infinite Power Solutions, a company working on energy harvesting using their rechargeable batteries. IPS showed attendees their production facilities which are due to come online shortly which will enable the manufacture of 30 million thin film rechargeable batteries per year initially.
Keynote speakers at the event included Boeing Spectrolab, a company wholly owned by Boeing, focusing on multi junction PV cells using gallium based PV devices, with record 40%+ efficiencies verified by NREL. These have been used to power capsules in space, and Dr Nasser Karam spoke of their work to make these terrestrially available, claiming they have now shown efficiencies over 41% using concentrator technologies, yet to be verified by NREL.
Dr Jack Bacon of NASA spoke of their stringent needs and challenges of PV in the space industry.
Dr Troy Hammond of Plextronics announced the introduction of its ink systems for organic solar cells. Developed around its record-setting photovoltaic technology, the company is releasing two versions of its Plexcore® PV ink system for use in research applications. The company is already scheduled to fulfill multiple orders for Plexcore® PV ink by the end of June.
Speakers from Arizona State University (ASU), Stanford and MIT covered new developments with organic PV. For example, MIT discussed their work combining organic PV layers with CIGS layers to enable PV efficiencies of 14.5%.
The first day of the event also featured a panel of investors and experts covering the outlook for PV technologies and investment opportunities. Subra Narayan or Kodak's venture capital division reported that since 2001 to the end of 2007 $2 Billion has been invested by ventures capitalists into PV companies, and of that $1.2 Billion was invested in 2007 alone. Of the 39 companies that receive venture capital investment in 2007, 28 were focussed on thin film PV. Investors saw PV reaching grid parity cost levels by 2011 to 2015.
Further news from the event will be covered in Printed Electronics World.