Thin Film Photovoltaics

Thin Film Photovoltaics

    Characteristics of thin film photovoltaics

    Thin film photovoltaic modules produce power at low cost per watt. They are ideal for large scale solar farms, as well as Building Integrated Photovoltaic applications (BIPV). They benefit from generating consistent power, not only at elevated temperatures, but also on cloudy, overcast days and at low sun angles.

    For BIPV applications, thin film photovoltaics can offer excellent aesthetics. Thin film photovoltaic modules also benefit from a relatively small drop in power output under partial shadowing when compared with crystalline silicon photovoltaics. This gives thin film photovoltaic modules greater design flexibility when integrated into the building envelope.

    Thin film photovoltaics consist of a stack of extremely thin photosensitive layers sandwiched between a top Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) coating and a back contact. The photovoltaic layers are laminated between a TCO glass such as NSG TEC™, and a low cost backing material, such as standard or thermally strengthened Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear glass.

    Thin film photovoltaic technologies

    NSG TEC™ can be used with a number of thin film photovoltaic technologies, including amorphous silicon (a-Si), tandem (a-Si/μ-Si) – a combination of amorphous and microcrystalline silicon, cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium (gallium) diselenide (CIS, CIGS) and dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC).

    Pilkington Optiwhite™ range of products may also be used as a base for TCO deposition, or as a top cover plate for CIS and CIGS thin film photovoltaics. Pilkington Optiwhite™ is a range of ultra-clear float low iron glass, which maximises the solar energy transmittance and, therefore, the efficiency of the photovoltaic modules.

    For more information on our solar glass product range, please read our solar glass literature or stay up-to-date with our latest solar glass news.