By Carlo Maragliano, Ph.D., Head of R&D.
Given worldwide solar cell overproduction and consequent drops in solar energy prices, solar manufacturing companies are struggling to survive due to sensible profit reductions. In this scenario, a revision in solar module technology is required to achieve lower production costs and therefore securing continuity of the global solar market. Solar Bankers developed and patented a solar panel that achieves 50% cost savings compared to standard modules and produces up to 30% more power output, even at high operative temperatures. Such technology represents the ultimate solution to guarantee large profits for PV manufacturers in the present market.
According to technology experts and policy makers, solar energy is the future of the global energy market. Solar is a renewable source of energy that produces little to no pollution and can be used to power small machineries as well as entire cities. The cost of solar energy has decreased tremendously in the last years and today we read more and more of solar parks being installed all over the world. Although solar energy demand is increasing yearly at an unprecedented rate, the situation that the solar energy market is experiencing is anything but positive.
Since the beginning of 2016, the solar energy market has been in standoff due to an overly crowded pool of manufacturers. The worldwide production capacity of solar cells has increased exponentially in the last 2 to 3 years, with most of the new manufacturing facilities being installed in China and South East Asia, and production has by far overpassed solar cell demand. In effect, the sole production capacity in South East Asia, not including China, is roughly enough to meet the joint demand of the two biggest solar markets, USA and Europe. As a natural consequence of production overcapacity, the price of solar energy (in $/W) has been monotonically decreasing, reducing gross margins of manufacturing companies to low single-digits and thus undermining their economical stability. Although most of the small-to-medium size manufacturers have been able to survive so far, the recent cuts in governmental subsidies, particularly in China, will probably lead to their bankruptcy. The world has just entered the era of solar company die-off: companies that were able to effectively minimize their production costs, without heavily relying on subsidies, will survive. The rest will perish.
Low production costs represent a key factor in guaranteeing the survival of solar manufacturers. While in the past the solar market has succeeded in drastically reducing production costs by optimizing and/or scaling up manufacturing processes, it seems that the current solar module technology has reached a bottleneck. Today manufacturing costs are indeed mainly constituted by the cost of raw materials, which are less susceptible to price variation, and this makes it difficult for solar manufacturers to further reduce their expenses. Thus, in order to guarantee the solar market a florid future, a revision in solar module technology is needed, something that the market has not undergone since its early days.
Solar Bankers has the solution for the next generation of photovoltaics. We have developed and patented an innovative solar module that guarantees high performance at the lowest production cost in the market, enabling high profits even at the current solar module prices. Solar Bankers module looks exactly like a standard panel, but it hides a secret: a revolutionary optical film that manages the light and allows achieving unprecedented performance. The film, installed on the bottom surface of the solar module front glass, acts like a lens and a prism combined together: light rays hitting the panel are concentrated along one axis and separated according to their spectral properties (i.e. colors) into two separate beams. The part of the spectrum suitable for PV conversion (wavelengths from 300 to 1200 nm) are concentrated on silicon solar cell stripes, while the remaining wavelengths, which only cause panel overheating, are bended away from the active converter. Solar Bankers module requires only a fraction of silicon compared to standard modules, enabling up to 50% production cost savings. In addition, it also generates up to 30% more power output as the film reduces heat losses that are the consequence of being exposed to high temperatures. Solar Bankers module, certified and tested by the Fraunhofer Institute, enables thus consistent cost savings compared to standard modules and guarantees large profits at the present solar energy price.