Main Article Content
Solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays are providing an increasing fraction of global electrical demand, with an accelerating rate of new installations. Most of these employ conventional glass-fronted panels, but this type of PV array does not satisfy applications that require a light-weight, flexible PV generator. An option discussed in this article is to consider textiles for such solar cell substrates. As explained in this review, combining the choice of PV cell type with the choice of textile offers alternative structures for flexible PV cells. In particular, the relative advantages and disadvantages are contrasted, either forming PV-coated fibres into a fabric, or coating an already formed fabric with the PV materials. It is shown that combining thin-film amorphous silicon PV technology and woven polyester fabric offers one solution to realizing flexible fabric PV cells, using well-understood coating methods from the textile and semiconductor industries.
Key words – solar, photovoltaic, textiles, fabric