[amsat-bb] HIgh efficiency solar cells for cubesats(high end?)

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Wed Aug 31 21:14:52 UTC 2016

> ... why is there no economy of scale at the space end?

Because every incremental improvement in efficiency for space cells becomes
the new MUST-HAVE for the BIG satellite builder.  All the big boys move on
to the new cells for their billion dollar missions.  Meanwhile last year's
$500 cell has practically no market.  The big guys always want the latest
and greatest, but there is practicallyu zero market for last years best.

Since everyone else except billion dollar satellites want the cheapest
cells, and it it a long way down from $500/watt to 30 cents a watt.  And
there is no "large scale in space" compared to the billions of panels being
sold for the new home solar and utility market).

BUT, I did find out how those college solar cars are getting the higer
efficiency cells.  You CAN buy the same 28% cells for only $50/watt each
(instead of $500) if you get them as cosmetic rejects, and without cover
glass and without bypass diodes.  This is a huge savings.  But it is till
160 times more expensive than common solar.  And you have to buy in bulk
increments of $7500 (150 cells).

Bob, WB4aPR

-----Original Message-----
From: AMSAT-BB [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org] On Behalf Of Peter Laws
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 1:19 PM
To: amsat-bb
Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] HIgh efficiency solar cells for cubesats

On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 12:04 PM, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:

> http://aprs.org/Energy/solar/Cost-of-efficiency.png
> It is interesting that we hear so much about solar getting cheaper,
> but in fact, the high end only gets more expensive.  That is why those
> people who say “I’m waiting for higher efficiency” will never see it
> be cost effective.  The space industry will always pay much,much more
> for just a factor of two increase, whereas the homeowner will only
> ever pay the cheapest.  And cheap it is!

People "waiting" often can't do math and so don't understand how cheap it
really is (even 10+ years ago!), but regardless, why is there no economy of
scale at the space end?  Is the efficiency just going up at the same time?
If so, why isn't the price just staying the same while efficiency rises?

The domestic PV is a completely different thing and now that our friends in
China are pumping cells and modules by the million
(billion?) the price just keeps dropping.

I'm not "waiting for efficiency", I'm "waiting until my roof can be
repaired" which means "waiting for money" which should mean "not buying that
IC-910H" but did not.  :-)

Peter Laws | N5UWY | plaws plaws net | Travel by Train!
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