South African disposable solar cells: I've been interested for some time in renewable power sources that are less expensive up front, even if more expensive over the long run. The lower up-front commitment cuts risk, allows more experimentation, and more room for incremental technological improvements. It also supports a wider range of business models based on recurring revenues.
"SCIENTISTS at the University of Cape Town are exploiting the nano-scale properties of silicon to develop a super-thin disposable solar panel poster which they hope could offer rural dwellers a cheap, alternative source of power. .. The scientists have developed technology for printing specialised inks containing tiny nanoparticles of silicon and other semiconductors onto paper. The solar panels are printed in much the same way as conventional colour images.. They print the metal contacts, then the semiconductor structure, then more contacts.
The voltage and power output of the solar cell is determined by the size of the poster. An A2-sized poster [15.9 x 22.3 ins or 40.38 x 56.64 cms] will deliver up to 100W of power, enough to charge a cellphone, power a radio or provide five hours of lighting, said Prof David Britton, a physicist specialising in nanotechnology.
“Many families cannot afford R1000 for a solar panel designed to last 30 years, but they can afford R10 (US$1.50) every three to six months for a ‘disposable’ panel,” he said. Shops could stock rolls of solar panel posters, and cut it to meet a customer’s needs. The poster could be mounted behind a window or attached to a cabinet. Britton’s team has built a successful prototype and is seeking to commercialise the project" 11:00:27 AM