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Solar Power Question: What is a Thin-Film Solar Cell?

Answer: Thin-Film Solar Cell (TFSC), also called a Thin-Film Photovoltaic Cell (TFPV), is a solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers (thin film) of photovoltaic material on a substrate. The thickness range of such a layer is wide and varies from a few nanometers to tens of micrometers.

Many different photovoltaic materials are deposited with various deposition methods on a variety of substrates. Thin Film Solar Cells are usually categorized according to the photovoltaic material used. The following categories exist:
Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
Copper indium gallium selenide (CIS or CIGS)
Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC)
Organic solar cell
Thin-film silicon (TF-Si)

The TFSC types that appear in bold letters are currently in mass production while the rest are still in the development or pilot-plant phase. As you can see, in most cases the TFSC are named after the photovoltaic material that they use, although there seems to be some confusion regarding some TFSC types because manufacturers and researchers use different names to describe the same technologies.

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