These raw flexible solar cells are extremely rare and have never been offered for sale to the public before. These came from the last experimental production runs at the Nanosolar Facility in California. The facility and company was liquidated during September and October of 2013. We can ship these in bin racks of 1,000 cells and cartons of 6,000 cells if you would like larger quantities.
These raw solar cells are very robust for CIGS, however, will degrade if not encapsulated in weather tight enclosure. Its interesting for experiment we have left a few exposed and un-encapsulated for 2 years and have found minimal degradation.
The CIGS solar cells are made of aluminum and to connect them we have used double sided conductive acrylic adhesive tape made by 3M / Tape Case (1182). Nanosolar used ultrasonic metal spot welders to connect the cells in production We have found a spot welder does connect them but if the settings are not just right you will blow a hole through them or the connection is weak. We believe a combination of the 3M 1182 tape and spot weld may be the best choice for DIY applications.
Nanosolar Nanocell Specifications
We have had many questions regarding cutting these cells. When these cells are cut they retain their .45 volts but the amps are reduced somewhat proportionally. You cannot use regular scissors or tin snips as these are made of 2 thin sheets of aluminum separated by energy producing compounds. If the top (negative) and bottom (positive) aluminum sheets touch it shorts the cell. We have successfully cut these cells with a water-jet cutter as well as a sharp bench shear set at 45 degree angle. It is possible to cut and then sand the cut edges back until the two sheets are separated but that is a tedious task and not recommended. Also we have noticed the cut cells are not as robust as the uncut cells even when accounting for the size differences of the cells.
The large area of metal (nickel coated aluminum) back is the positive output of the cell. The thin strip of un-coated aluminum on the down-facing side of the front is the negative output of the cell. These came from the manufacturing floor of Nanosolar in San Jose and are being stored in air tight bags with desiccant. Each cell was tested for proper output by Nanosolar before being packaged and we have found these are very robust cells. These solar cells can be previewed at our facility in Ventura, California.
Nanosolar Nanocell Flexible DIY Solar Cell Test for Power Output