Solar Electricity

Thin Film Photovoltaic

Installing clean, reliable, inflation-proof solar power is easier than ever, thanks to the invention of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) laminates that can be bonded directly onto metal roofing panels. Unlike crystalline PV material, there’s no need for obtrusive racks and heavy, expensive glass. Instead, unbreakable thin-film PV is produced using amorphous silicon, encapsulated in Teflon and other polymers.

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This is a company that as the potential to change the world. It has developed proprietary technology that makes it possible to simply roll-print solar cells that require only 1/100th as thick an absorber as a silicon-wafer cell (yet deliver similar performance and durability). It has so far raised over $1Bn US and is building a factory in the US, Germany and Wales. Their technology dramatically lowers the process cost and complexity involved in the production of thin-film solar cells and makes it possible to scale production very rapidly. The result sets the standard for the technology and products that make it possible to put A Solar Panel on Every Buildingâ„¢. Nanosolar is on track to make solar electricity:

  1. cost-efficient for ubiquitous deployment
  2. mass-produced on a global scale
  3. available in many versatile forms.

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The following links have more Thin Film information and product prices:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thin films are thin material layers ranging from fractions of a nanometre to several micrometres in thickness. Electronic semiconductor devices and optical coatings are the main applications benefiting from thin film construction. Some work is being done with ferromagnetic thin films as well for use as computer memory.

Ceramic thin films are also in wide use. The relatively high hardness and inertness of ceramic materials make this type of thin coating of interest for protection of substrate materials against corrosion, oxidation and wear. In particular, the use of such coatings on cutting tools may extend the life of these items by several orders of magnitude.

Thin-film technologies are also being developed as a means of substantially reducing the cost of photovoltaic (PV) systems. The rationale for this is that thin-film modules are expected to be cheaper to manufacture owing to their reduced material costs, energy costs, handling costs and capital costs. However, thin films have had to be developed using new semiconductor materials, including amorphous silicon, copper indium diselenide, cadmium telluride and film crystalline silicon. In all cases, these technologies face major technical and financial hurdles.

The engineering of thin films is complicated by the fact that their physics is in some cases not well understood. In particular, the problem of dewetting may be hard to solve, as there is ongoing debate and research into some processes by which this may occur.

Photovoltaics – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Photovoltaics, or PV for short, is a technology that converts light directly into electricity. Photovoltaics is also the field of study relating to this technology and there are many research institutes devoted to work on photovoltaics.[1][2] Due to the growing need for solar energy, the manufacture of solar cells and solar photovoltaic array has expanded dramatically in recent years. Photovoltaic production has been doubling every two years, increasing by an average of 48 percent each year since 2002, making it the world’s fastest-growing energy technology. At the end of 2007, according to preliminary data, cumulative global production was 12,400 megawatts. Roughly 90% of this generating capacity consists of grid-tied electrical systems. Such installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or building integrated. Financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity and net metering, have supported solar PV installations in many countries including Germany, Japan, and the United States.

How Solar Panels are Made

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Home Solar Installation

This video shows the installation of a 1.7kw photovoltaic system on a home in Sebastopol, CA. Marin Solar did the installation work. The video also shows a few novel solar installations around Sebastopo.

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Solar power systems installed in the areas defined by the dark disks in the image above could provide more than the world’s 2006 total primary energy demand (assuming a conversion efficiency of 8%). That is, all energy currently consumed, including heat, electricity, fossil fuels, etc., would be produced in the form of electricity by solar cells. The colors in the map show the local solar irradiance averaged over three years from 1991 to 1993 (24 hours a day) taking into account the cloud coverage available from weather satellites.

National Photovoltaic Incentives

The most significant incentives programs are listed here.


Situation as of May 2007 Photovoltaic Rebate Programme (PVRP)

– AUD 8/W rebate up to max AUD 8000 per household

South Australia

Feed in legislation enacted 14 February 2008. Small PV only. Paid $0.44 per kWh (twice retail electricity tariff). Expires 2028.


Situation as of 2007

  • <=5kWp EUR 0.40/kWh
  • >5kWp EUR 0.385/kWh

12 year contract, fixed remuneration []


Overview of Federal and provincial incentives at CanSIA. Only Ontario offers significant incentive.


Situation as of 2007

Ontario Power Authority (OPA) Standard Offer Program (SOP). For renewable generation capacity of 10 MW or less, connected at 50 kV or less.

Feed-in Tariffs:

  • Solar Photovoltaic: $0.42/kWh CDN
  • Wind, Hydro, Biomass: $0.11/kWh CDN

Contract duration 20 years, constant remuneration. All power produced is sold to the OPA. Generator then purchases back what is needed at prevailing rate (e.g., $0.055/kWh CDN). The difference should cover costs of installation and operation over the life of the contract (perhaps with some profit).


Situation as of 2006.

Legal basis: Arrêté du 10 juillet 2006

Feed-in Tariffs:

  • EUR 0.30/kWh on mainland – EUR 0.40/kWh in DOM-TOM and Corsica
  • Roof-integrated: EUR 0.55/kWh on mainland, DOM-TOM and Corsica

Contract duration 20 years, linked to inflation.

Additional investment subsidies available as tax credits.


Situation as of 2007.

The legal framework is the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz – EEG), amended version in force since 1 August 2004.

Feed-in Tariffs: Feed-in Tariffs (EUR/kWh)

System size(kWp) Groundmounted On buildings andanti-noise walls facadeintegrated
<30 0.3796 0.4921 0.5421
30 to 100 0.3796 0.4682 0.5182
>100 0.3796 0.4630 0.5130

Contract duration 20 years, constant remuneration. New contracts will be 5% lower in value in 2008 (6.5% for field installations)


Situation as of 2006.

Feed-in Tariffs (EUR/kWh):

System size (kWp) Mainland Island
≤ 100 kWp 0.45 0.50
>100 kWp 0.40 0.45

Contract duration 20 years, linked to inflation

Investment subsidies: Tax rebates and grants are available


The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) provides revolving fund to financing and leasing companies offering affordable credit for the purchase of PV systems in India.


As of March 2007.

The Ministry for Industry issued a decree on 5th August 2005 that provides the legal framework for the system known as “Conto Energia” The latest version is the decree of 19 Feb 2007

Feed-in Tariffs (EUR/kWh)

System size (kWp) Free-standing Semi-integrated Integrated
1 to 3 0.40 0.44 0.49
3 to 20 0.38 0.42 0.46
>20 0.36 0.40 0.44

Contract duration 20 years, constant remuneration. Tarifs for new contacts will be decreased by 2% each calendar year


The former incentive programme run by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was stopped in 2005.

South Korea

Situation as of Oct 11 2006.

Feed-in Tariffs:

  • Systems >30 kWp: KRW677.38/kWh
  • Systems <30 kWp: KRW711.25/kWh (ca $0.75, €0.60)

Additional subsidies available.

Contract duration 15 years, constant remuneration


Situation as of 2006.

The legal framework is the Real Decreto (royal decree) 436/2004 modified by Real Decreto 1634/2006. As of 29 April 2007 the Spanish legislation is expected to change shortly, maybe substantially

Feed-in Tariff:

first 25 years:

  • <= 100 kWp: 575% of the TMR = 0.4404 EUR/kWh
  • > 100 kWp: 300% of the TMR = 0.2289 EUR/kWh

after 25 years:

  • <= 100 kWp: 460% of the TMR = 0.3523 EUR/kWh
  • > 100 kWp: 240% of the TMR = 0.1838 EUR/kWh

TMR: Reference Mean Tariff (Tarifa Media de Referencia) TMR as at 2006 = 0.076588 EUR/kWh. A new TMR is fixed by the government each year

United Kingdom

Situation as of 2006. A grant system for installation has been operated by the Energy Saving Trust.

– Maximum of £2,000 per kW of installed capacity, subject to an overall maximum of £2,500 or 50% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower.

Tariffs for electricity sale and purchase are determined by individual electricity companies in a free-market situation, where consumers may choose their electricity supplier. There is no feed-in tariff.

United States


Federal tax credits of 30% limited to only $2000 for residential systems, and expires December 2007. Details of this and state incentives are summarized at DSIRE. Legislation currently under consideration in Congress: “Securing America’s Energy Independence Act of 2007.” Full text at HR550, S. 590. These multifaceted energy bills would extend investment tax credits.


Starting 1 Jan 2007

Administrative basis: California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decision of Aug. 24, 2006

Feed-in Tariffs and Investment subsidies :

  • Systems >100 kWp: $0.39/kWh
  • Systems <100 kWp can choose either $2.50/Wp or $0.39/kWh

Contract duration 5 years, constant remuneration

Net metering

  • Up to 2.5% of peak demand, rolls over month to month, granted to utility at end of 12 month billing cycle


Colorado became the first U.S. state to create a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) under Amendment 37 in November 2004. amended in March 2007

Investor-owned utilities serving 40,000 or more customers to generate or purchase 10% of their retail electric sales from renewable-energy resources as well as a rebate program for customers.

Utilities must use increasing amounts of renewable or recycled energy to fulfil its sales in CO up to 2007 3% in 2007; 5% in 2008-2010; 10% in 2011-2014; 15% in 2015-2019; and 20%in 2020 and thereafter. At least 4% of the standard must be generated by solar-electric technologies, half of which must be generated at the customer (this part must be fulfilled by PV) Cooperatives and municipal utilities must follow a lower scale culminating in 10% in 2020. The 2007 amendments directed the Colorado Public Utility Commission (PUC) to revise or clarify its existing RPS rules on or before October 1, 2007. The PUC’s rules generally apply to investor-owned utilities.

Tradable Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) may be used to satisfy the standard. Utilities that do not generate the required amount of electricity from renewable energy sources may purchase RECs from utilities that exceed the requirement. According to Green Power Network in 2006, US RECs traded between ¢0.5 and 9.0/kWh. Many were at ¢2/kWh ($5-90/MWh)

Net metering:

  • Credited to customer’s next bill; utility pays customer at end of calendar year for excess kWh credits at the average hourly incremental cost for that year, limit on system size 2 MW, no enrollment limit

Utility rebate programs

Many states have counties and utilities which offer rebates of from $500 to $4/watt installed, as well as feed-in tariffs of up to $1.50/kWh. See reference for list.[1] 40 states have net metering. See reference.