UNI-SOLAR® Technology

UNI-SOLAR® products are based on a sophisticated multi-layer amorphous silicon flexible thin-film solar cell developed originally by Stanford Ovshinsky and his colleagues at Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. This spectrum-splitting cell, shown schematically below, is constructed of separate p-i-n type, amorphous semiconductor solar sub-cells, each with a different spectral response characteristic.

Stanford Ovshinsky obituary

This allows the cell to convert the different visible and near infrared wavelengths of sunlight with optimal efficiency. The United Solar spectrum-splitting multijunction design now holds all the world’s records for amorphous silicon solar cell efficiency, including the highest stable efficiency measured by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for a small-area amorphous silicon solar cell — 13 percent.

The United Solar thin-film cells are manufactured in a unique continuous roll-to-roll deposition process. Each of the nine thin-film semiconductor layers that comprise the cell is sequentially deposited in separate, dynamically-isolated, plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) chambers as the stainless steel substrate progresses through the machine. The company’s manufacturing plant has a production capacity of twenty five million watts of solar cells.

The thin-film materials, cell designs, and manufacturing processes used by United Solar Systems Corp. are protected by more than 160 issued U.S. patents.

RESOURCES

Related Resources

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How a Solar Cell Works

Overview of how how sunlight is turned into energy that can power a car

How much light do we need?

Explanation of how much sunlight needed to for cars and boats to achieve optimal performance.

Life Cycle Design of Amorphous Silicon Photovoltaic Modules

Publication investing energy payback time and electricity production efficiency of PV systems.

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