Solar panels have come a long way since their initial experimental introduction back in the 1940s. Today, the panels that are considered modern are referred to as the first, second and third generation solar cell technology. Each new development has brought with it a greater level of efficiency, simpler installation and better overall cost effectiveness. The benefits in general are clear-less dependence on fossil fuels and no waste which both help the environment along with lower energy bills and tax credits to aid you financially after the initial investment. As new models become continue to become available on the market, one of the advancements that stands out as a particular service in revolutionizing the industry are flexible solar panels.
While conventional solar panel arrays are completely rigid, flexible solar panels can be produced in many different shapes. This technology has been used on a small scale for many years. The light-activated strip in some calculators is a prime example of early-implemented flexible solar energy panels. While the technology has existed for quite a long time, never has it been available on such a large scale like it is today.
Thin film technology, which is what makes flexible solar panels possible, is when a light-absorbing material is printed onto a supportive backing like glass, plastic or ceramic. The new process by which such materials like cadmium tulleride or amorphous silicon are applied greatly reduces the cost of production. There is more than one process, one of which is called vapor deposition, the other electroplating. In addition to being cheaper to produce, there is also a much higher level of versatility when it comes to shapes that can be manufactured. Traditional panels have to be square or rectangular, but with flexible solar panels, since the technology is the coating itself, it can applied to any shaped surface.
As a consumer, it is important to consider what your needs are. If standard shapes are not a viable option, this is the perfect solar energy solution for you. However, it is important to bring up the only notable disadvantage of flexible solar energy panels. They are not as efficient in converting sunlight to energy as rigid platforms are. In fact, they are about half as efficient. It is easy to assume that over time as further advancements are made that the efficiency of flexible solar panels will certainly improve and continue to bring you savings.