New Photovoltaic Panel Technology Indigenized

New Photovoltaic Panel Technology IndigenizedNew Photovoltaic Panel Technology Indigenized

Iranian researchers have devised a way to develop solar photovoltaic panels based on an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective technology.

A group of experts at state-owned Khuzestan Regional Electricity Company and Chamran University of Ahvaz have indigenized a method for producing amorphous silicon solar panels, IRNA reported on Saturday.

“Amorphous silicon solar cells have successfully been tested in laboratory conditions and now it’s time to move toward mass producing the panels,” Touraj Fattahi, a senior official at KREC, said.

Amorphous silicon solar cells belong to the category of silicon thin-films, where one or several layers of photovoltaic material are deposited onto a substrate. The substrates can be made out of inexpensive materials such as glass, stainless steel and plastic.

Thin-film solar cells can be made flexible and lightweight, and perform relatively well under poor lighting conditions.

Amorphous silicon cells are one of the most environmentally friendly photovoltaic technologies since they do not use any toxic heavy metals such as cadmium or lead.

Nabiollah Kosarian, director of the project, also said that if the country works further on solar technology and manages to export the panels, it will help curb the unemployment rate.

According to Kosarian, the new product has been tested in extreme conditions such as under the temperature of 80 degrees Celsius, that is why it was chosen to be used in Iran, most of which have arid and semi-arid climates. Noting that the level of research in the project was on a par with the studies done in the leading countries of the industry, the official stressed that the efficiency rate in this method is higher than that of similar technologies.

Kosarian said the policies of Energy Ministry and other government bodies should be changed for the benefit of domestic production, adding that instead of importing these panels and assembling them in Iran, the government should trust domestic producers.

According to Iran's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, international investors have proposed $4.1 billion worth of renewable power projects since last year's lifting of sanctions. They include a $2.9-billion preliminary agreement with Norway's Saga Energy and a $600-million contract with London-based Quercus to build solar plants in Iran.

Iran meets more than 80% of its electricity demand from thermal power plants that run on fossil fuels while renewables account for a meager 420 megawatts, or less than 1% of its energy mix.

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