Imagine being able to tape thin, affordable solar cells anywhere: the top of a trailer, the side of a building, or the roof of your car. Sunflare‘s new solar technology could make that possible. The Los Angeles-based startup has developed solar cells just a few micrometers thick that “can be secured to any surface with a special double-sided tape,” according to company founder Len Gao.
The Los Angeles-based Sunflare team spent 16 years developing their ideal solar cell made with copper, indium, gallium, and selenide. The solar cells are said to be superior to traditional solar technologies in terms of weight and efficiency, generating 10 percent more power and weighing 65 percent more lightweight than other panels. Sunflare’s CIGS solar cells are affordable too, potentially costing as little as $1.07 per watt.
The flexibility of Sunflare’s thin solar cells, which lack a glass substrate, mean they could be placed in areas inaccessible to traditional panels. Sunflare lays out their vision on their website: “Sunflare panels can be seamlessly incorporated into existing structures or integrated into unique architectural designs, all while providing clean, renewable, affordable energy.”
The manufacturing process has often tripped up solar manufacturers in the past; processes can be expensive due to materials or chemicals consumed. Sunflare says they’ve fixed many of those issues with their proprietary Capture4 solar technology, a way to make the solar cells with less toxic chemicals (they don’t use cadmium or lead) and less water. They’re also able to recycle the water they do use.
Can Sunflare deliver? The company says they successfully produced solar cells last year, and were expected to commence manufacturing on a larger scale this summer. You can’t yet buy the solar cells on their website, but you can send a message to the company for more information. Sunflare envisions their solar cells utilized in just about any industry, from the military to construction and automotive.