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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Solar Energy

BioSolar Developing Solar Panels Using Renewable Bio-source Materials

BioSolar's bio-based solar panel is an example of the correct business decision also being the correct decision for our planet.

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--------------- NEWS RELEASE ---------------

SANTA CLARITA, CA, 3-29, 2007--BioSolar, Inc., developer of a breakthrough technology to produce thin film, flexible solar cells on bio-based plastic substrates, today reports that the company seeks to bring powerful cost advantages over its counterparts in the solar cell manufacturing industry. By manufacturing thin-film solar cells on a bio-based substrate, the company is expecting to leapfrog current bottlenecks in the manufacture and delivery of photovoltaic solar cells.

David Lee, BioSolar President and CEO, laid out the rationale for his company's push to develop the technology to manufacture thin-film solar cells on a bio-based substrate. "Two major factors restraining the growth of photovoltaics around the globe are the scarcity of polysilicon used in the manufacture of traditional solar cells, and the high and volatile pricing of petroleum which is used to manufacture the plastic substrate, or base, that the polysilicon is layered onto," stated Dr. Lee. "We believe that our thin film process deposited onto a substrate made of bio-based plastics, will allow us to manufacture photovoltaic solar cells at a cost and in quantities that could revolutionize the pricing structure in the industry. These solar cell breakthroughs are required to deliver clean electric power to meet the world's ever increasing need for zero carbon energy."

Industry sources indicate there is demand for three times as many solar panels as are currently being made. Consequently panels are over-priced and make solar electricity way too expensive.(1) The problem is the rising demand for both computer chips and solar panels at a time when not enough polysilicon is being produced. The industry trade journal Electronic Business, while noting the strength of demand for solar cells, commented on the long-term shortage in an article from last year: "The demand completely exceeds supply," says Jeffrey Bencik, an analyst with investment bank Jefferies & Co. "These solar companies could produce five times as much if the silicon supply were there."(2) Exacerbating the problem for traditional solar cell manufacturers is the fact that the computer chip industry has priority in the purchase because they are historical customers with long term purchase contracts in place.

However, this provides a substantial competitive advantage for BioSolar. The thin-film solar cell technology process to be utilized by BioSolar uses vastly less amount of doped layers of amorphous silicon. This reduces the company's exposure to the staggering price increases experienced by other solar cell manufacturers. The Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development(3), bolsters rationale supporting the company's advantage by noting that the "shortage is expected to ease only as the growing market for thin-film technologies that use little or no silicon," continues to develop.

The second major cost advantage that BioSolar expects to exhibit is a result of being untethered from the pricing instability of petroleum based plastics. BioSolar is developing a substrate utilizing bio-based plastics that utilize renewable resources as its core building blocks. The current bio-based plastics market utilizes corn starch, potato starch, and /or other cellulosic starches to create the resins expected to manufacture the substrate. Historically, these commodities have shown less pricing volatility than petroleum as a feedstock for the plastic resins, and unlike petro-based plastics, they are a renewable resource.

Concluded Dr. Lee, "This is an example of the correct business decision also being the correct decision for our planet. We believe that our efforts will deliver cost breakthroughs that are sheltered from the dual exposure to price shocks associated with shortages of polysilicon and petro-based plastics, and will propel our company to the forefront of these emerging markets."

The company identifies fellow California companies as partners: thin film solar company XsunX and corn-to-plastic company Cereplast.

BioSolar, Inc.
27936 Lost Canyon Road, Suite 202
Santa Clarita, CA 91387
Tel: (661) 251-0001
Fax: (661) 251-0003"

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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