20 February 2018
Ascent Solar’s monolithically integrated thin-film PV modules selected by German Aerospace Center for further testing for deep space exploration
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Thornton, CO, USA - which makes lightweight, flexible copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic modules that can be integrated into consumer products, off-grid applications and aerospace applications - has been selected by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) for further testing to develop custom PV products designed specifically for its upcoming solar array deployment system.
DLR’s new GOSOLAR project aims to test the deployment technology needed for a large-scale solar power generation system that will use a flexible photovoltaic membrane. Ascent’s technology will allow DLR to address the challenging current requirements that come with this approach to solar-sail deployment in a gossamer formation. The use of Ascent Solar’s patented monolithically integrated modules should allow DLR to implement their unique deployment design while maximizing the area that generates electrical power.
“We have been gaining traction in the deep space community, in part because we have a unique, lightweight and flexible product, but also because our monolithic integration offers greater design latitude that traditional crystalline products do not,” says Dr Joseph Armstrong, chief technology officer and founding member of Ascent Solar. “We have demonstrated the ability to adjust the physical dimensions of our modules to meet the need of customers and, with unique deployment schemes employed by DLR, correctly sizing our solution to accommodate proper stowage and deployment is critical,” he adds.
“Our design allows us to maximize the surface area of our award-winning solar technology while keeping the thin and lightweight profile of the deployed solar sails,” says president & CEO Victor Lee. “We look forward to further development and testing with DLR in the coming years.”