Thin Film Solar Panels

What are thin film solar panels, and what could possibly be so exciting about them?

Thin film solar panels operate in the same manner that regular solar panels do, the only difference being that they are a lot thinner and require far less materials and energy for construction.

This might not sound extremely spectacular, but in fact it is. It is a major breakthrough in solar technology.

Why Are Thin Film Solar Panels So Important?

The reason thin film solar technology is considered to be such a major breakthrough is because, until now, the two barriers that have prevented solar energy and solar technology from becoming mainstream energy providers have been the 1. the cost to produce them, and 2. the problems in rapidly mass-producing them.

Both of these problems have been solved. This paves the way for rapid expansion of clean energy in the form of solar power.

What is Thin Film Solar Technology?

Thin film solar technology is a method of putting extremely thin films of photovoltaic material on to a thin layer of backing for support.

This is made possible through new inventions, such as solar ink. A photovoltaic material is dissolved into a solution, that is then printable as ink. It is then printed out, similarly to how books are printed.

Because of the invention of solar ink, it is possible to print photovoltaic material onto thin layers of plastic fabric or metal. This printing process is extremely fast, and thus it allows you to mass-produce solar panels at a high speed and at only a fraction of the cost.

Whereas, in the past, solar panels were bulky and weighed a serious amount, thin film solar panels weigh almost nothing and take up almost no space. This means that solar panels can now be produced at only 5 percent of the cost, as compared to our old bulky solar panels.

Uses of Thin Film Technology

The ability to literally print solar panels onto fabric, plastic and metal has opened up new horizons in the application of solar power.

Some of the uses now possible are as follows:


  • Metal roofing
  • Membrane roofing
  • Architectural fabric


  • Rollable solar chargers
  • Foldable solar chargers
  • AA battery solar charger
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Satellite phone chargers
  • Laptop chargers
  • GPS chargers
  • PDA chargers
  • Handheld game chargers
  • Radios


  • RVs
  • Campers
  • Boats
  • GPS devices

Military, Police and Emergency Services:

  • Solar field shelters
  • Foldable solar chargers
  • Rollable solar chargers
  • AA battery solar charger
  • Communications systems
  • Medical refrigeration systems
  • Water purification systems

Remote Locations, etc:

  • GPS asset tracking
  • Highway/transportation lighting and signals
  • Weather stations
  • Wildlife feeders
  • Remote sensors and data transmitters
  • Security lighting
  • Warning/safety lights
  • Water pumping systems

The above are just some of the ways that solar power can be and is being used, with the advent of thin film solar panels. I am sure that many more uses will be added, now that the price and manufacturing barrier of solar power have been broken.


Learn more information at Solar Ink.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Thin Film Solar Panels”

  1. Mathew April 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Those are very important decisions to make. However, you should take also into account how much space you effectively need per watt and how to make it look good. The worst that can happen is that your panel errodes within 2 years and looses energy output. Thats why it is also important to have a plan and too choose your materials carefully

Leave a Reply