San Jose, CA, United States
San Jose, CA, United States

SoloPower is a solar energy company developing and manufacturing Copper indium gallium selenide Thin-film flexible Photo-voltaic Solar Panels. The company uses a special electroplating technology to utilize nearly 100% of its materials.SoloPower is based in San Jose, California, and has achieved the distinction of being the first company to obtain UL Certification of CIGS flexible solar panels in 2010. This was lauded as a significant achievement by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Later the same year, the company also received IEC Certification of its flexible CIGS solar panels, again an industry first. In March 2012, the company's modules set a world record aperture efficiency of 13.4% for flexible CIGS Solar Panels, as measured by NREL. Wikipedia.


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The present invention provides a method to form Group IBIIIAVIA solar cell absorber layers on continuous flexible substrates. In a preferred aspect, the method forms a Group IBIIIAVIA absorber layer for manufacturing photovoltaic cells by providing a workpiece having a precursor layer formed over a substrate, the precursor layer including copper, indium, gallium, selenium and a dopant of a Group IA material; heating the precursor layer to a first temperature; reacting the precursor layer at the first temperature for a first predetermined time to transform the precursor layer to a partially formed absorber structure; cooling down the partially formed absorber structure to a second temperature, wherein both the first temperature and the second temperature are above 400 C.; and reacting the partially formed absorber structure at the second temperature for a second predetermined time, which is longer than the first predetermined time, to form a Group IBIIIAVIA absorber layer.


Patent
SoloPower | Date: 2011-01-07

The present invention provides methods of electroplating a film or films onto a top surface of a continuously moving roll-to-roll sheet. In one aspect, the invention includes continuously electroplating a film onto a conductive surface using an electroplating unit as the roll-to-roll sheet moves therethrough.


Patent
SoloPower | Date: 2011-10-17

A system and method of manufacturing solar panels whereby parameters about how each cell, each array and each panel are recorded in a database or electronic memory. The cells, arrays and panels are also provided an identification, such as a bar code, to allow for subsequent retrieval of the parameters. The electronic memory is arranged so that different cells, arrays and panels that share the same parameters can be identified.


Patent
SoloPower | Date: 2011-05-03

The present invention provides methods and systems of reacting a precursor material disposed on a continuous flexible workpiece to form a solar cell absorber. The reactor is configured to have a uniform transition in cross-sectional area from a gas inlet into a reaction space and then a uniform transition in cross-sectional area from the reaction area to a gas outlet. The uniform transition reduces gas turbulence. The continuous flexible workpiece may also be positioned on a floor that is configured to reduce turbulence adjacent the lateral edges of the continuous flexible workpiece.


The present invention provides a reactor for preparing thin films of compound semiconductors for photovoltaic devices. The reactor includes a chamber that has a bottom surface that, in some locations, has protrusions that contact the bottom surface of the substrate having the compound semiconductor to provide uniform heating and cooling of the substrate. Interior walls of the chamber can also be lined with high thermal conductivity portions and low thermal conductivity portions interposed between high thermal conductivity portions.


Patent
SoloPower | Date: 2012-06-08

A solar module having a curved surface to facilitate shedding of accumulated snow and water. The module can also be angled to achieve the same. The module includes a housing with a curved or angled upper surface and solar cells are positioned within the housing.


The present inventions provide method and apparatus that employ constituents from one or more constituent supply source or sources to form one or more films of a precursor layer formed on a surface of a continuous flexible workpiece. Of particular significance is the implementation of PVD systems that operate upon a horizontally disposed portion of a continuous flexible workpiece and a vertically disposed portion of a continuous flexible workpiece, preferably in conjunction with a short free-span zone of the portion of a continuous flexible workpiece.


An electrochemical deposition method to form uniform and continuous Group IIIA material rich thin films with repeatability is provided. Such thin films are used in fabrication of semiconductor and electronic devices such as thin film solar cells. In one embodiment, the Group IIIA material rich thin film is deposited on an interlayer that includes 20-90 molar percent of at least one of In and Ga and at least 10 molar percent of an additive material including one of Cu, Se, Te, Ag and S. The thickness of the interlayer is adapted to be less than or equal to about 20% of the thickness of the Group IIIA material rich thin film.


Patent
SoloPower | Date: 2012-04-26

Described are embodiments including an apparatus that provides a thin film solar cell base structure for a photovoltaic device, a method of manufacturing a photovoltaic device, a roll to roll method of manufacturing a thin film solar cell base structure, and a ruthenium alloy sheet material.


The embodiment described herein relate to pulse electroplating methods and solutions.

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