Three Steps Forward: Our Manufacturing Process
At Ascent Solar, our patented 3-step manufacturing process is designed to ensure that our products function at the highest levels in remote locations and extreme environments, meeting the high standards our customers have come to expect.
Step 1. Thin Film Deposition
Our metallic back contact is deposited onto a plastic substrate so that during subsequent coating steps our flexible product remains sufficiently flat to be successfully processed. The plastic and back contact of our solar is as thin as a human hair!
We use a patented process to coat our CIGS semiconductor uniformly with continuous process monitoring. This ensures that the final material attains the desired electrical, chemical, and mechanical properties. Sunlight must reach this layer to convert solar energy into electricity.
After the CIGS process, a very thin transparent coating is added to complete the semiconductor junction. Because sunlight must go through this film to reach the CIGS layer, the film parameters must be precise.
The thin film panel is completed by adding a top contact by using a transparent conductive oxide (TCO). At this point, the photovoltaic (PV) device is complete, but it remains a single solar cell that extends for thousands of square feet.
Step 2. Monolithic Integration
Monolithic integration is vital to ensuring unmatched durability by creating a path for energy to flow around damage or shade and continue operating. To make our flexible PV useful, we then laser pattern the completed roll into individual cells. What’s left is a run of PV -- tens of thousands of solar cells on our plastic substrate --arranged into the specifically designed pattern required by your application
Tens of thousands of individual solar cells aren’t useful unless they are connected to create your specified voltage and current. Our printing process connects the cells to form modules with the desired power specifications for a given application.
Step 3. Final Assembly
We assemble the resulting modules into larger products, and then laminate them to protect against environmental factors that might damage the bare module. Since our solar product is very thin, the packaging thickness really determines how flexible it is, and how well it can survive environmental extremes.
Nothing leaves our factory without being tested to make sure that it meets our specifications, no matter how small or large the product might be.
Testing & Qualification Capabilities
Most of our qualification testing is performed in-house, but we also work with industry-leading test labs. We’ll be happy to help with all your testing, qualification, and certification needs including: