New solar panel technology

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A local start up SunFlex Solar developed new, more high-efficiency solar panels. It’s called “Sunfoil module technology” which was created at ASU within a Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office project. Dr. Zachary Holman, SunFlex co-founder and ASU engineering professor, joins Ted discuss what this means for the future of solar energy.

“We’re talking about a technology to make solar panels more efficient, and when we say more efficient, we mean better at converting sunlight into electricity,” said Holman. “We’ve found an innovative way to wire together the many solar cells inside a solar panel.”

A solar cell are small, usually rectangular cells that are wired together to create a solar panel. A standard solar panel contains approximately 60 solar cells. However, SunFlex Solar found a more efficient way to connect these cells.

Sunfoil modules save cost by carrying the current in aluminum foil, connecting the foil to the cells with a proprietary method that does not require electrically conductive adhesive or metal wiring on the front of the panel. As Holman points out, this wiring can prevent sunlight from actually reaching the solar cell and being converted into electricity.

Holman also notes that Sunfoil’s technology can help prevent cracking that is common in solar panels. Sun Flex is just one of several start-up companies from ASU that are working to solve global challenges.

“I can think of six active solar start ups coming out of ASU right now,” said Holman.

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