HN Gopher Feed (2017-07-23) - page 1 of 10
Printed Solar Panels for Less Than $10 a Square Metre
158 points by daknahttps://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/the-clever-e...
msoad - 6 hours ago
How those films hold under direct sun?
simcop2387 - 4 hours ago
I wonder if these could be used to produce panels on a remote
planet/planetoid. I.e. could you use this to create a bunch of
panels to place on the moon, even with the low efficiency you'd
still save a lot by not having to ship them.
blhack - 4 hours ago
You would still have to ship the raw material, as well as the
machines to assemble/print them.
HillaryBriss - 7 hours ago
For a very rough comparison, according to this, conventional solar
panels cost about $10-$12 per square foot, or very roughly $100 per
solar-p...Of course, what we really want is a comparison in terms
of cost per watt.Maybe equally important to the cost of these
panels is the ease and cost of installing them. These new printed
panels are very flexible/lightweight and can be deployed easily and
jaclaz - 6 hours ago
Yep, but the article states "production costs":>The technology
delivers unprecedented affordability at a production cost of less
than $10 a square metre.the cost you are citing are "sale
prices", they are not the same thing.Given that the Quora post
cited is accurate (and "current" as the price of conventional
panels is dropping constantly, and a two years old post sounds
like outdated) the ratio is much smaller than 1/10, more probably
around 4/10 or 5/10.Still a "big thing", however, provided that
it works, that the cost estimation is accurate, that the
efficiency is comparable, etc.
jessriedel - 6 hours ago
Yea, can't make a meaningful comparison without (a) cost per watt
or (b) cost per total present-value of lifetime power delivered
peter303 - 4 hours ago
A lot of cost in installations is now other factors such as casing,
peripheral electronicls like invertors, labor, financing, etc.
QAPereo - 7 hours ago
Does anyone have any information on how efficient these are how
long they last and that kind of thing? All I got for the article
was a lot of hype and $10 a meter.
sand500 - 7 hours ago
Woild like to know normal panel's efficiancy and costs for
jaclaz - 5 hours ago
In the real world you cannot expect to need less than around 5
square meters for 1kW of peak power (using the most efficient
panels), the standard "rule of the thumb" being 7 sq meters per
1 kW, some lower efficiency panels (not used anymore) will
stretch that up to nearly 9 square meters per 1kW.This puts the
efficiency in a range between 1/9 and 1/5, i.e. between 11 and
20%.So if this new panel has a 1/10-1/8 of the best above, it
plainly means that you will need in your typical single home
installation more space than your roof has.Let's take a 6 kW
installation, with best current panels it will be 30 square
meters or however at the most 45, with these printed thingies
more like 240-300 sqm or more.And 2-3 years of expected
life!Maybe the principle is fine but it must be
modified/bettered to raise the efficiency and to increase the
ekr - 7 hours ago
You can buy solar cells off aliexpress at ~$0.33 / watt (this
is the lowest price atm). The most efficient cells are at
23-25% efficiency, but these are a bit more expensive (closer
to $0.5).Here's the first example I could find
olegkikin - 6 hours ago
> "In terms of efficiency, the solar cells are currently showing
around a 2-2.5 per cent power conversion rate" Since you can
probably get 250-350 watts of sunlight (avg) per square meter, it
means 1 sq m generates 5 to 8.75 watts. Which is 0.5 to 0.875
watts per dollar (or $1.14-$2 per watt).I don't think that's
cheaper than the current offerings, especially if you don't
consider these printed panels take 10X more space. Also the
lifespan isn't known.But consider that the price of these new
panels will likely fall, if mass-produced.:
australias-...EDIT:Other people say it's $0.40 per watt. :
esm5 - 4 hours ago
I'm not sure where you are getting the 250-300W/m2 of
irradiance. The standard value used in all solar industry
calulations is 1000W/m2, but in practice, you should expect to
see 800W/m2 at sea level and moderate lattitude.
rpenm - 4 hours ago
1000W/m^2 is average daily peak irradiance. That number is
useful for designing system capacity, but doesn't reflect
output throughout the day.
olegkikin - 4 hours ago
1000W/m2 is at noon at the equator without clouds/haze/dust.
ScottBurson - 4 hours ago
Maybe that's the 24-hour average?
chris_va - 4 hours ago
Average capacity factor for solar cell is about 25% (night,
clouds, seasons, etc).1000W/m2 * 0.25 => ~250W/m2.
wrycoder - 16 minutes ago
Shingles are about $8 per sq meter, uninstalled. Plywood is
somewhat more. How durable is this stuff?
unwttng - 3 hours ago
Yeah but do they mine bitcoin
vasili111 - 3 hours ago
What is the price per watt?
danmaz74 - 6 hours ago
Looks like the conversion efficiency is between 2% and 3%, so,
pretty low compared to silicon based
printed-... edited to clarify 2/3%
STRML - 6 hours ago
To be clear to those reading, that's 2% to 3%, not two-thirds
danmaz74 - 5 hours ago
TheStrongest - 5 hours ago
Last I heard silicon based was getting close to 25% efficiency.
So for the same amount of energy of a square meter of a
traditional panel, you'd need 10 square meters. That's a huge
solar panel for only a regular amount of energy. I assume they'll
continue to get more efficient though, maybe in a few years it'll
be worth it.
philipkglass - 4 hours ago
That would put them at 20-30 watts-peak per square meter, or
$0.50 to $0.33 per Wp if the cost is $10/m^2. At the lower
efficiency, crystalline silicon modules are already cheaper. At
the higher efficiency, it may be cheaper than crystalline silicon
modules but just slightly. It would need to reach commercial-
scale production very soon to avoid being overtaken by the
relentless manufacturing optimization of standard c-Si
technology.Another problem is that "less than $10 a square meter"
is almost certainly an estimate referring to scaled-up commercial
production. Printing 100 m^2 of devices for that test site did
not cost under $1000.Finally, I'd wonder about lifetime and
endurance. Crystalline silicon itself is extremely durable. With
good supporting materials and thermomechanical design, c-Si
modules can go 30 years before they degrade below 75% of original
rated output. (There are at least a few solar modules installed
in the early 1980s that are still working fine.)
Animats - 2 hours ago
Half the cost of solar panels is installation, because the
price of panels has dropped so much. Low-efficiency panels are
thus a lose; if they're less than half the efficiency of
existing panels, they could cost zero to make and not be
useful.This isn't the first roll to roll process producing
solar cells. Ovshinsky's Energy Conversion Devices made such
things for years; in 2008, they were the largest producer of
flexible solar cells. Their Uni-Solar unit is still active,
but not a big player.(That was one of Stanford R.
Ovshinsky's many inventions. He invented flexible solar cells,
nickel-metal-hydride batteries, and much of thin-film
electronic technology. But each time, some other technology
pulled ahead.) http://www.uni-solar.com
Steeeve - 30 minutes ago
I don't disagree, but that's really absurd. Installation is
not particularly difficult. There are dangers, but It's not
significantly challenging. The market requires it - because
all those solar companies wouldn't exist if it wasn't
profitable. Still... every time I see an installation quote
I'm blown away by how much people pay. People don't seem to
care about numbers once they have to get financed for a few
vasili111 - 4 hours ago
What is the price of silicon based panels?
tgtweak - 3 hours ago
Industry average 300w panel (17% efficient) is about 1.6m? and
comes in at about $0.40/W wholesale. At scale you can go
cheaper. Manufacturing cost is likely lower. Shipping costs can
be 15-20% on top of that.~$120/m?.What would be helpful to
know:How much of every material is required/m??How much does
1m? weigh?What is the 75% output lifetime?Efficiency graph at
varying solar iridescence?Manufacturing yield rates?
caltelt - 6 hours ago
This is what I was looking for. The 'Performance' section of the
article was pretty lacking on any actual details. They mention
that it's more consistent over 24 hour periods, but that could've
just meant that output was low, regardless of the time of day.
ChuckMcM - 5 hours ago
An interesting addition to the mix. The design space around solar
power systems focuses on either cost (like in this example where
efficiency is low) or efficiency gains regardless of
cost.Presumably if we get to a point where you can cheaply print
25+% efficient cells then we're "done" as it were on improving
solar cells :-) https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03
nilsocket - 7 hours ago
> On our lab-scale printer we can easily produce hundreds of metres
of material per day, on a commercial-scale printer this would
increase to kilometres. If you had just ten of these printers
operating around the clock we could print enough material to
deliver power to 1000 homes per day,? said Professor Dastoor.That
being said, may-be 10Km worth of these can power 1000 homes.It
costs $10 per sq.meter.
kurthr - 6 hours ago
The costs of the inverters, installation, and connection already
dominate the cost of solar.Before incentives in California, you
are looking at $5k/kw and the solar cells are less than 20% of
throwaway5752 - 6 hours ago
Is that true? I was looking at $4/kw (all in) 5 years ago. Not
in CA, but that should come close to a 25% difference. It was
mid-tier panels, but a high quality inverter.
kurthr - 5 hours ago
Yes, but did that include federal and state subsidies? With
Fed tax incentives (as most people quote) on a 5kw
installation in CA it's $15-20k depending on who and where.
So that would be in the $3-4 range... a lot of that is labor
(almost half) so other parts of the country are lower. Rural
places tend to be higher though.My real point was that labor
price variations can easily be larger than the total actual
ac29 - 5 hours ago
Curious, what is the need for a 5kW array? Do they
typically only produce at 5-10% of peak? Or do the
relatively low panel prices mean that if you are going to
build 1kW, you might as well build 5?I just went outside
and checked my utility company smart meter... the whole
house isnt even using 100W right now (though thats on the
low side, I'd think).
kurthr - 4 hours ago
That will change as soon as your fridge/washer-drier/TV
much less hairdrier, AC, or stove turn on (it's peaky so
net neetering really helps). Typical 3 person SFH uses
~1.5kw average or 1000kWh/mo ($110/mo at CA rates).Well
installed solar at US lattitudes in a very sunny area
generally gives you something like 25-30% of peak as an
average (it's not up half the day and averages less than
45deg over the day ignoring clouds).
throwaway5752 - 6 minutes ago
That was with all costs included and no subsidies. With
subsidies it was about $1-2/kW. That was 5kW before
parimm - 3 hours ago
Wow,Solar prices in the USA are pretty high. I live in
India where solar is under 1.2USD/watt installed. This is
for a good module and very good inverter.I have seen
quotations for under a dollar a watt using cheaper
kurthr - 3 hours ago
If labor was free, and you didn't need a permit or
certified equipment to attach to the roof and utility
lines, and there were no taxes, then that's close to what
you would pay. $0.60 cells and $0.40 string inverter
$0.20 cheap brackets.For very large commercial/utility
installations it falls close to that ($1.40 including
land and transformers).https://pv-magazine-
1024core - 6 hours ago
> If you had just ten of these printers operating around the clock
we could print enough material to deliver power to 1000 homes per
day,? said Professor Dastoor.The US has 100M homes. That would
require 100,000 days, or 300 years...
anovikov - 6 hours ago
That also means if these things decay at the same rate as normal
solar panels (producing an equivalent of 30 years of like-new
power through about 35 years of lifetime), only 100 presses will
be enough to power the entire U.S., or about 300-400 presses if
you include all power needs, not just home. Which doesn't sound
like a lot, one press per million people.
djrogers - 3 hours ago
But where are you going to put these things? They are quite
inefficient compared to conventional solar, so it?s not like
you can just cover roofs in them and be done.
anovikov - 3 hours ago
Yes i already realized that... Essentially that is half-scam,
with that low efficiency they are pretty much useless.
nashashmi - 6 hours ago
How about a calculation with the number of new homes per day? In
other words how many printers do we need to satisfy the solar
energy demand of all future homes?
crishoj - 6 hours ago
One could consider having more than just ten printers.
caio1982 - 6 hours ago
You missed the "just ten".
Someone - 3 hours ago
2% efficiency would give you ballpark 5W per square meter (peak) or
about .25W for a sheet of paper (less indoors or at night)So, if
this can be combined with a paper-thin e-ink display (and, if
needed, a flat sheet capacitor for power storage), would that be
enough to make true paper-thin displays at reasonable price?