The solar breakthroughs keep coming:
Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered how to create successful “CIGS” (copper, indium, gallium and selenium) solar devices with inkjet printing, reducing raw material waste by 90 percent and significantly lowering the cost of producing solar energy cells.
The process could lead to high-performing, rapidly produced, ultra-low cost thin film solar electronics, according to the researchers. Instead of depositing chemical compounds on a substrate with a more expensive vapor phase deposition — wasting most of the material in the process — inkjet technology could be used to create precise patterning with very low waste.
If costs can be reduced enough and other hurdles breached, it might even be possible to create solar cells that could be built directly into roofing materials, scientists say, opening a huge new potential for solar energy.