SBIR Phase I: High Efficiency Flexible Solar Panels

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Blue Sky Engineering, Inc.
417 Main Ave Ste 003
Fargo, ND 58103
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims to develop a nanopackaging process that can assemble high efficiency solar cells onto flexible panels. This modular, scalable approach leverages disparate, state-of-the-art photovoltaic technologies and integrates them into a single system at low temperature. This can include silicon, gallium arsenide and other III-V technologies. An advantage of the proposed approach is that it facilitates the use of silicon cells with III-V cells, increasing the availability of photovoltaic materials with different bandgaps. The assembled device will be evaluated for both concentrator applications and also portable electronic devices. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project includes reducing dependence on fossil fuels, as well as limiting environmental impact compared to other sources of energy. Solar power is a renewable and nearly limitless energy source. Commercially, the project reduces manufacturing costs of flexible solar panels and introduces a more robust solar energy system into the market. The market for flexible solar panel substrates is estimated to be $536 million by 2017. Higher efficiency is critical for applications that utilize solar energy to extend the operational duration of mobile devices. However, the efficiency of commercially available flexible solar panels is limited to 8-14%. The challenge is that high temperature deposition processes are typically required to deposit higher efficiency materials, but the deposition temperature must be kept low for compatibility with flexible organic substrates. Key applications include concentrators and portable electronic devices.