Ascent Solar and PermaCity Solar to Develop New PV Systems

October 10, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. and PermaCity Solar announced that they have begun co-development of a new suite of photovoltaic (PV) products and systems for the growing terrestrial market that includes large commercial buildings, master planned communities, vertical high rise structures, and residential homes. Combining the existing customer base and system engineering and integration expertise of PermaCity Solar with the flexible, thin-film module manufacturing expertise of Ascent Solar, the venture aims to deliver PV systems that offer significant performance and cost advantages over existing silicon-based solutions.

Ascent Solar's large, roll format modules are claimed by the company to provide inherent cost and system integration advantages over the small, fragile, bulky and rigid silicon modules in use today. The Ascent Solar thin-film PV on plastic with laser-patterned cell integration allows modules to be automatically sized in custom fashion to the unique requirements of each customer's design needs. Analysis of a recent 600 kW silicon-based system installed by PermaCity Solar on a large commercial building suggests that the Ascent Solar module manufacturing technique may be able to provide as much as 35% more roof top coverage because silicon-based modules of today are routinely inhibited by ill-positioned roof obstructions like vent pipes, sky lights and HVAC equipment. PermaCity Solar and Ascent Solar plan to develop an integrated manufacturing technique that will link the PV system computer aided design (CAD) directly to the laser patterning control system in the factory to customize the size and shape of the modules for each unique installation.

PermaCity Solar's expertise in PV system engineering and integration has resulted in a unique "plug-and-play" PV system that simplifies the installation process. Using Ascent Solar's technology, PermaCity Solar plans to install an entire system that incorporates only modules of a constant, fixed and very high voltage. This powerful technique enables modules to be integrated in parallel, thus avoiding the complex series connections that require vast amounts of wiring, connectors, junction boxes, combiner boxes, etc. Achieving the same level of versatility is problematic with current silicon-based technology and other technologies that utilize standardized module manufacturing tools designed to accommodate a fixed industry standard PV cell size.