Solar electricity for all markets

A new London-based photovoltaics company is preparing the commercial roll-out of low-cost solar-energy technology, which could be integrated into off-grid applications.

Solar Press said this technology would boost under-developed regions by providing electricity to billions of people who do not have access to or that currently lack this utility.

The current obstacle that stands in the way of expanding solar energy to these communities is the high capital cost of installing and producing photovoltaic power, using currently available technologies.

Omar Cheema, founder and chief executive of Solar Press, said his engineering team overcame this obstacle with a photovoltaic module and processing techniques that make solar electricity products affordable in all markets.

Its module design incorporates a polymer semiconductor and soluble small-molecule semiconductor and does not use rare earth materials, which most silicon-based solar modules do, he said. Also, unlike silicon-based alternatives, the Solar Press cells do not require clean room or vacuum environments and can be manufactured through printing machines in ambient conditions.

Cheema said his team has achieved a throughput of 10,000 to 100,000m2 an hour.

’The amount we can produce in an hour is as much as you could produce with silicon solar cells in a year,’ he said.

Cheema said that this will lead to a significant reduction in costs and will allow Solar Press to sell its solar cells for a fraction of the price of current technology. He also said that the efficiency of Solar Press’s modules is comparable to those based on amorphous silicon.

Solar Press has received funding and support from the Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit company set up by the government to accelerate the move to a low-carbon economy.