Well-financed solar start-up Nanosolar on Tuesday said it has started shipping its flexible thin-film solar cells, meeting its own deadline and marking a milestone for alternative solar-cell materials.
On the company's blog, CEO Martin Roscheisen announced that the first megawatt of its solar panels will be used as part of a power plant in eastern Germany.
The release of Nanosolar's first products is significant because the company develops a process to print solar cells made out of CIGS, or copper indium gallium selenide, a combination of elements that many companies are pursuing as an alternative to silicon.
The 5-year-old company, based in San Jose, Calif., has raised more than $100 million in financing and has drawn in Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as investors.
Because of the high price of silicon, several companies are making thin-film cells from CIGS, but a number have run into technical problems.
Roscheisen said the manufacturing process the company has developed will enable it to eventually deliver solar electricity for less than a dollar per watt, which would be significantly cheaper than fossil fuel sources of power generation
I've been following the solar industry for over 15 years and the improvements in efficiency over the last 5 years are simply stunning. If Ray Kurzweil is right about the singularity, the next 5 years should be even more exciting. I can't wait for the day when solar power drops in price to be competitive with conventional sources without subsidies. I wonder if OPEC is keeping oil prices high because they know their days of power over the market are numbered?