A Polish company on Friday announced the start of industrial production of new generation, flexible and lightweight solar panels.
The Polish company Saule Technologies announced on Friday that it had opened the world’s first industrial production chain for solar panels made from perovskite cells, an innovative technology.
“We are changing scale, we are moving from the laboratory to the industrial”, declared Olga Malinkiewicz, the founder of the company, congratulating herself on opening “the first factory in the world for photovoltaic cells in perovskites”.
Perovskite modules make it possible to manufacture light, flexible photovoltaic panels, having transparency rates, colors but also variable shapes and that can easily be placed on a laptop, a car, a drone, a spacecraft or a building. even in the shade and indoors.
Perovskites are atomic structures that are common in nature but can be easily obtained in the laboratory. The efficiency of new modules is comparable to that of traditional silicon panels.
Their manufacturing costs are reduced due to the simple inkjet printing process invented by Olga Malinkiewicz, 38, which allows them to be produced at room temperatures.
The researcher invented her technology eight years ago when she was a doctoral student at the Institute of Molecular Sciences (ICMol) at the University of Valencia, Spain. His discovery, noticed by the journal “Nature”, earned him the prestigious prize of the Photonics 2 competition, organized by the European Commission, and another of the “MIT Technology Review”.
The factory is located in Wroclaw, in the southwest of Poland. According to Olga Malinkiewicz, already “demand exceeds the production capacity” of the chain, initially estimated at 40,000 m2 per year.
Printed on transparent plastic sheets
The first commercial orders came from the Internet of Things and building sector, where the new modules are easily integrated into different facades and surfaces.
The production technology consists of printing on transparent plastic sheets successive layers of photovoltaic modules, including that of perovskites, forming an assembly with predefined technical parameters, shapes, sizes and colors.
These modules can be very small or large, they can also be cut out or, on the contrary, glued together to obtain very large surfaces if necessary.
“We use synthetic perovskites which can achieve considerable efficiency and potency, and which do not need to be extracted from nature,” said Olga Malinkiewicz at the inauguration of her factory.
Tested in the Himalayas
The perovskite modules have been tested, “with excellent results,” in simulators of conditions in outer space, the researcher said.
A flexible, folding A4 double sheet surface perovskite module has “proven itself as a charger for phones and other electronic equipment during an expedition to the Himalayas, in extreme weather conditions”, a- she added.
Willow Technologies, named after a Baltic pagan goddess reigning over the sun, earth and sky, is controlled by Polish private investors, including Columbus Energy, the country’s leader in photovoltaics and green energy, and Japanese, with the multimillionaire Hideo Sawada.
The company, which has a team of 70 people from 15 different countries, is preparing for its next flotation on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and is already considering building new factories “in Europe or perhaps in Japan”.
“Of all photovoltaic installations in Europe, only 4% are manufactured on the continent. We agree with the European Union that it is important to start manufacturing them ”in the EU, said Olga Malinkiewicz.