The market for solar energy looks promising and rapid growth is anticipated. Analysts had predicted that 2017 would be the first time in several years that the market would decrease, but reality turned out to be something else again; current forecasts from IHS Markit indicate that total sold solar panels in the world during 2017 will be about 14 percent higher than during the record year 2016.
Sol Voltaics AB is a spin-off from Lund University’s world-leading nanotech research and the company is striving to expand the market for solar energy.
The company is applying new and innovative technology that enables existing solar panel manufacturers to increase the efficiency of their solar cells by using a nano-equipped thin film.
“Just as with all start-ups, speed-to-market is critical,” says Dr Luke Hankin, senior engineering manager at Sol Voltaics. “Prevas offers the development support we need, quickly, cost-effectively and in a responsive manner. All this, in combination with their focus on confidentiality, was decisive when we chose Prevas as a partner.”
The process for manufacturing nanofibers begins with a metal melt and particles being created through evaporation. This is followed by a number of steps during which the particles are rounded off and sorted by size. Each fiber is a solar cell that produces electrical current when exposed to light. Sol Voltaics plans to launch its first product, SolFilm, on the market in 2020.
“Producing these fibers is an advanced process, involving reactive gases, high temperatures and flows with high precision,” explains Björn Pentén, sales manager at Prevas. “It’s all about technological development at the leading edge. It requires an automated guidance system to control the process. This is a real-time system we developed ourselves in which we’ve been able to utilize our production experience in industrial IT and automation.”
While the IEA (International Energy Agency) is still cautious in their forecasts, there are other scenarios that mention numbers that would make solar energy the world’s biggest generation technology for electrical energy. But this requires keeping up with today’s developments in order to reap the fruits of tomorrow, with collaboration between Sol Voltaics and Prevas being an important link in the chain.