The solar industry in the United States is booming. In the past 10 years, the industry has grown by more than 50% annually and employs more than 240,000 people. Despite this growth, many people are still hesitant to adopt this kind of green energy, because the establishment of solar arrays requires a large initial investment, so 3D printed solar panels came into being. This technology is affordable and affordable for individuals to use. So how does a 3D printed solar panel work? 3D printing has been involved in every industry, and it is only a matter of time to apply it with solar technology. Conventional solar cells are based on polysilicon, which melts and injects boron to form a semiconductor. A silicon wafer is then added to the semiconductor surface and etched, and the electrical contacts are stamped thereon. Each battery can then be tested and assembled into a solar panel.
3D printing cuts down most of the steps. The base is a transparent plastic plate. The 3D printer is laid layer by layer. From the semiconductor base material processing to the finished surface, the cavity is 200 microns thick, which is about four times the thickness of human hair.
At present, 3D printed solar panels are not a long-term solution for solar energy conversion because they are less efficient than traditional solar panels and have a short duration, but the cost advantage makes up for the lack of performance. The 21m2 solar panel is about $5,000, but the 3D printed 200m2 solar panel costs only about $2,000.
3D printed solar cells may not last long, but according to industry experts, they can capture 20% more sunlight than traditional solar panels and can reduce costs by 50%.
As early as 2015, a research and development team from Australia successfully developed a thin solar panel like paper. According to research and development personnel, the solar panels can be printed directly using 3D printing technology, with superior power supply capability, and the appearance of the building can provide energy for a whole skyscraper.
It is understood that this ultra-thin solar panel is a bit different from the new battery products we have seen before. It does not need to go through very cumbersome manufacturing processes. It can be successfully built with 3D printers and can be used for roofs and walls. In addition to convenience and speed, it can also save energy.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that solar panel production costs can be reduced by 50% due to 3D printing. In fact, for these new structures, expensive materials such as glass, polysilicon and indium are not required. The feasibility of these projects is clearly a new material that can now be printed in 3D. For example, synthetic perovskites are now known to be a less expensive material for constructing photovoltaic structures.
These devices are easy to implant in developing countries
At the very least, solar panels can be printed in 3D and are cheaper than conventional glass panels. In fact, 3D printed panels are lighter because the technology was developed to print ultra-thin solar strips. By reducing weight, it also reduces transportation-related difficulties. As this technology becomes more affordable, it is now a good solution for anyone to use renewable energy and can be transported anywhere, including those in developing countries that do not have easy access to electricity.
3D printed solar panel efficiency increased by 20%
Regarding the quality of these panels, they are also 20% higher than traditional panels, as new technologies, new 3D printed materials and new designs are now being developed due to 3D printing. The solar industry needs a new innovation, and most importantly, they need a more affordable approach. 3D printing seems to be becoming a new revolution in this field.