Architects and FTL Solar co-founders Todd Dalland and Robert Lerner explain some of the innovative methods they’re exploring for bonding thin-film flexible photovoltaic (PV) cells to fabric:
Lamination. Adhesives activatedÊby light, heat, moisture, temperature, pressureÊor a combination for a period of time create the bond. This processÊuses a flat-bed vacuum laminator or a roll-to-roll laminator.
Painting. A four-coat PV paint (comprising an undercoat, a layer of dye-sensitized solar cells, a layer of electrolyte or titanium dioxide as white paint pigment and finally, a protective film) can be applied to materials.
Mechanical. Grommets and rope, Velcro®, flexible magnets, rivets, and staples can connect PV cells to textiles.
Weaving. Flexible PV fibers (zinc-oxide nanostructures grown on opticalÊfibersÊand coated with dye-sensitized solarÊcell materials) are being developed that can be woven into PV cloth.