Generating electrical power directly from sunlight is of course a very sustainable method to supply the need for electricity. In parallel to that the resources required to make the PV module also need to be sustainable as well and of course the energy required to produce it should be recollected well beyond its lifetime. Powerfoil ® has key properties that make it sustainable as well as economic.
A low Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is a prerequisite for large scale introduction of photovoltaïc modules. Our proprietary roll-to-roll production process in combination with the use of abundantly available materials allow for large scale manufacturing at very cost competitive levels. Furthermore the flexibility and light weight character of the modules allow for in-factory integration with building elements and thus avoid the need for additional support structures. This reduces Balance of System costs drastically as the building element has the PV functionality integrated.
The electrically active layers consist of SnO2:F, Silicon, ZnO and Al, whereas the encapsulation material uses some fluor polymers. All these materials are abundantly available and thus allow for large scale deployment of the technology. No scarcity is to be expected for any of these materials in the short and medium term. The use of these materials in the HyET Solar modules is so small compared to world production volumes that an expansion to large scale production will not lead to a sudden rise in total global demand. On top of this the used materials are non-toxic and allowed for trade in every country in the world.
Roll-to-roll processing is extremely suited for high throughput production. Production width of the foils in excess of 1200 mm is beneficial for the capital investment in the factory. In general roll-to-roll processes require low labour as the process is kept running for prolonged periods of time.
In the product the roll-to-roll production allows to make any length of module possible. Long modules reduce the need for connectors and cabling and reduce the balance of system costs.
A flexible product is easily handled in integration methods by simply unrolling, without the need for pick and place robots.
The thin film silicon PV module uses low quantities of material and does not require high temperature processing. As a direct consequence the energy payback time for the production process is less than 1 year, meaning that the solar module generates in the first year more electricity than was required to produce it.