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Swedish Energy Agency finances NLAB SOLAR’s factory

Press release   •   Dec 03, 2012 10:28 CET

NLAB Solar has been granted a 60 MSEK loan by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) to develop and demonstrate the industrial production of its new solar cell technology. The Swedish company has secured financing for the construction of one of the world's largest production facilities of Grätzel cells, the third generation of solar cells.

"The Energy Agency’s loan allows us to keep investing in Sweden and will enable us to develop industrial production of the next generation of cheap and environmentally friendly solar cells in Stockholm. With our unique technology, Sweden can take the lead in the solar cell market", said NLAB Solar's CEO Giovanni Fili.

NLAB Solar develops Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSC) also known as Grätzel cells, after its inventor Professor Michael Grätzel. NLAB Solar produces DSC using simple manufacturing technologies such as screen printing, and commonly available chemical ingredients. This results in significantly lower material cost than traditional silicon solar cells. NLAB Solar has developed its own patented technology producing high efficiency cells with low production costs.

The 2000 m2 factory is located in Stockholm. It is expected to have a capacity of 20 MW per year and will begin operation in 2014. NLAB Solar plans to hire an additional 25 employees to develop industrial processes as well as final products. Initially, NLAB Solar will focus on materials used in buildings as well as consumer electronics.

The technology used in Grätzel cells is based on a chemical reaction very similar to the natural process of photosynthesis. In plants, chlorophyll is used convert sunlight into energy; in NLAB Solar’s DSC, titanium dioxide is used to convert light into electricity. The solar cells work even in low light conditions and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

The solar cells can be made transparent or coloured and therefore can be seamlessly integrated in glass facades as well as roofs. The solar cells generate electricity even on cloudy days or diffused light and are less sensitive to heat than other technologies. This makes the products especially attractive in warm countries, such as in the Middle East, large parts of Asia, Africa, North and South America where there is a huge maket for solar cell technology.