Nanosolar is a company based in Palo Alto, California, which uses an innovative technique to produce a kind of "solar film". To make the film, Nanosolar prints CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-selenium) onto a thin polymer using machines that look like printing presses. There is no costly silicon involved in the process, and, ultimately, a solar cell from Nanosolar will cost about one-fifth to one-tenth the cost of a standard silicon solar panel. Nanosolar is only a few years old, but it has laid plans to take on multinational corporations, such as BP and Sharp, in the solar industry.
The company recently announced that it now has the funding to get started on volume production of its photovoltaic technology. It plans to build a manufacturing facility in California that will eventually produce 430 megawatts of solar cells per year, making the company one of the largest solar producers in the world in the span of a few years. Nanosolar will also build a plant in Germany for taking the solar cells and fitting them into solar panels. Later, Nanosolar will produce plastic sheets coated with the particles to generate electricity on the rooftops of big box retailers.
We first mentioned Nanosolar when we heard that the founders of Google would be investing in the company.