Though silicon cells dominate the current chapter of the solar power industry, the efficiency and cost effectiveness of thin film cells will surely succeed in the times to come to build a better environment, while fulfilling the energy needs of the consumers and industry.

Moving from Silicon Solar Cells to Thin Films - Studying the Changing Face of Solar Power

Mayra Baquedano | Silicon Valley Microelectronics

The big switch from being dependent on perishable energy sources to using clean and renewable sources of energy is an unstoppable phenomenon, one which is bound to shower plenty of benefits on consumers as well as Mother Nature. This big leap towards a better future is powered by the increased utilization of renewable resources, with solar power being the biggest contributors among several other resources.

Solar energy, at present, is the cleanest and the most abundantly available forms of renewable energy available to mankind. It has the potential to provide for the current power consumption needs of the society. However, there are only two primary constraints that hinder the process of full utilization of solar energy, which comprise of the manufacturing expenses and the power efficiency conversion rate.

Since the ideal balance between cutting down the manufacturing expenses and multiplying the efficient conversion rate hasn’t been reached yet, the efforts must be channelized towards manufacturing a perfect solar module that consumes limited finances and stills offers the required level of efficiency rate for converting solar energy into electricity, the chances of which are somewhat better now with the availability of thin film solar cells.

An Introduction to Thin Film Solar Cells

The solar power industry has come a long way from what it used to be years ago. Silicon based solar cells, one of the main components of solar power generation, have been there for more than 50 years now. However, their low efficiency rate of converting solar energy into electricity and the high manufacturing costs are items of history now. This coming period is the age of Thin Film Solar Cells, which are known to be far more efficient and economical when compared to their silicon predecessors.

Thin solar cells, primarily named after their thin dimensions, are advanced and well-equipped soldiers of war for producing clear, inexpensive, and more efficient form of energy, helpful to both consumers as well as the industry. From the manufacturers’ point of view, thins films have the potential of cutting down the cost of producing solar cell modules by a dramatic amount. First of all, these films tend to reduce the required amount of material thickness to 1 micron. Secondly, they can cover a wider area, which, in turn, enables manufacturers to increase their production volume. It is because of these two unique characteristics that manufacturers are able to minimize the material expenses, thereby making thin films a cost effective means of harnessing solar energy.

As far as the consumers are concerned, thin films have enabled them to include highly effective photovoltaic material into the architecture of their buildings itself. This further helped in the procreation of a relatively new industry, Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV), which is also one of the fastest advancing branches of solar power industry in the present day world.

Different Types of Thin Films

Currently, there are three types of thin film solar cells that are being manufactured in the industry, namely cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). Of these three, the cadmium telluride (CdTe) cells are relatively more popular and in practical utilization as against the other two categories. However, all these films are unique in terms of their nature and properties, and it is because of their innovation and progress that the solar industry has experienced a substantial boom in the past few years.

The Future Story

Today, the primary objective of the energy world is to use renewable resource technology for facilitating the transition from the present, polluting utilization of non-renewable sources of energy to a technology that supports far better, cleaner and effective form of energy. Solar energy, which is perhaps the most sparkling forms of energy available in copious quantity, is one such eco-friendly way of reaching the self-sufficient and energy conserving future. Though silicon cells dominate the current chapter of the solar power industry, the efficiency and cost effectiveness of thin film cells will surely succeed in the times to come to build a better environment, while fulfilling the energy needs of the consumers and industry.


Mayra Baquedano   is responsible for developing and executing strategic online marketing plans for Silicon Valley Microelectronics, Inc. She explores new ways to grow online presence through SEO, social media, advertising and email campaigns. If you have any query or want to learn more about Silicon wafers or solar industry email Mayra – or visit for more information.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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