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Low cost solar panel research receives funding boost

€600,000 funding awarded to Dr Ghufran Hashmi for the development of low cost long lasting solar energy materials
A solar panel printed in the shape of the aalto 10th birthday party logo
A solar panel printed in the shape of Aalto's 10th Birthday party logo

Low cost, customizable solar panels being developed at Aalto University have received a funding boost from the Future Makers program, with Dr Ghufran Hashmi receiving €600 000 grant to develop the research further. The award is jointly funded from the Technology Industries Finland Centennial Foundation and Jane & Aatos Erkko Foundation.

'There’s lots of excitement about new materials like perovskite-based photovoltaic devices at the moment, and we are in a very strong position allowing us to make devices that are very stable.  Our solar panels can be made cheaply from abundant materials, using well-known production methods like inkjet- and screen-printing,' says Dr Hashmi.

Dr Hashmi holding a printed solar panel
Dr Hashmi holding a printed solar panel

These production methods provide flexibility to realize customization of deposited patterns that can give both aesthetics along with energy production. The technology looks highly promising to be integrated into building components such as facades or canopies without burdening the overall component costs. What’s more attractive for commercial players is that Dr Hashmi’s team can produce their solar cells and modules in  regular factories, as opposed to the expensive clean-room facility that current solar panel production requires.                                                                                           

The low-cost solar panels now work well at the laboratory prototype scale. Stronger ties with industry will support the project’s goal of producing panels on the scale needed for real-world use. 'We have received valuable feedback from some of the leading Finnish glass and energy companies, and are proceeding rapidly towards making robust and efficient building integrated photovoltaic products. This new funding will further strengthen our research and development activities in producing reliable building-integrated devices, which could be ready before the end of this new project,' says Dr Hashmi.  

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