The Santa Clara solar-panel manufacturer Miasole is about to be sold overseas, and possibly dissolved. Its technology is an innovative threat to some existing manufacturers. In fact Miasole’s thin-film manufacturing technique, which can reduce the amount of expensive materials needed by more than 90 percent from conventional solar cells, is a breakthrough technology that will be lost to the United States without immediate action.
Miasole is a very real, productive company, with a 150 million-watt-per-year production facility in California, and more than 60 megawatts already deployed in commercial operation. Miasole is, or was, the third largest thin-film solar energy producer in the world, and has achieved an industry-leading 16 percent efficient solar panels.
Miasole’s planned rollout of thin and flexible solar cells could revolutionize installation and expand market opportunities, further reducing costs. These achievements are based on their patented production process, in which the layers of the thin film are deposited onto a 3-foot-wide sheet of stainless steel foil as it passes around the periphery of large circular production machines.