The Nanosolar company announced plans to build the largest plant for production of solar cells in the world in California near San Jose. The aim is to produce 200 million solar cells per year or a total capacity of 430 300.000 megawatts could power homes.
While silicon cells currently dominate almost all photovoltaic market, Nanosolar chose the Copper Indium Selenium Technology (ICS) for its solar cells. This technology has many advantages over traditional silicon cells. First, it eliminates the silicon shortage currently affecting the photovoltaic industry. Second it is a thin film technology which requires only a few micro meters active layers against several hundred for a crystalline silicon cell. Finally, the cell can be built on a flexible substrate. This opens the door to the production of form panels adapted to their use.
The progress achieved in recent years allow CIS cells to approach yields achieved by the polycrystalline silicon cells (around 12% yield). Nanosolar claims to have developed a manufacturing process that significantly reduces production costs for CIS cells factor that has so far impeded the commercial development of these cells. Behind the company include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google. Sensing that the sun is now on a roll, they decided to invest heavily in the development of Nanosolar. Outdistanced by Japan and Germany in the race for the production of solar panels and more and more concerned about their energy situation, the United States seems poised to react and this project is an example as the recent program incentives for solar in California. It is also an opportunity to strengthen its position in the renewable energy market with the exponential growth of which the value is already 40 billion and could reach 170 2015 billion.