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Spray-on solar panels

A spray-on material that could make solar panels cheaper is to be developed in a joint research effort by The Australian National University (ANU) and Spark Solar Australia.

As one of two new projects worth a combined $1.85 million, the spray-on project will focus on a new way to treat the surface of a solar cell. The project will be run with the Finnish materials company Braggone Oy.

“It will provide an opportunity for significant manufacturing cost reductions by replacing the conventional, expensive manufacturing techniques that are currently employed industry-wide with the spray-on films,” says Dr Keith McIntosh from ANU, the Chief Investigator in the first project.

The second project will investigate methods to change the surface of a solar cell to improve its efficiency. This project will be run in conjunction with German solar company GP Solar and led by Chief Investigator Dr Klaus Weber from ANU. “We aim to develop a range of industry-ready cell fabrication sequences that will offer significantly improved conversion efficiencies” Dr Weber says.

Both projects are supported by the Australian Research Council under the Linkage Projects scheme. Spark Solar Australia is a new company that is raising $60 million and will build a factory in the ACT region to commence solar cell production in 2010. The factory will initially produce eight million solar cells per year.

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Photovoltaics (PV)