Flexible Solar Panels

Vanguard Space Technologies is developing integration methodology for Inverted Metamorphic (IMM) solar cells, the highest efficiency, thinnest cell technology yet demonstrated. Our efforts began with SBIR and BAA programs to construct an IMM Integrated Blanket Interconnect System (IBIS), which has led to our Thin Integrated Solar THINS array technology. Vanguard is integrating IMM cells into thin insulating laminates with flex-circuit wiring. The result is a flexible and slender Photovoltaic Assembly (PVA) that exhibits more than 34 percent efficiency and ultra-high specific power greater than 400 W/kg at the PVA level to support 130 W/kg at the power-system level. Our Flexible Solar Panels use lamination with a coverglass replacement (CGR) approach that allows integrated construction of the solar modules with reduced cost and improved environmental durability. The MISSE-7 flight experiment of a CGR module successfully demonstrated durability with no degradation after more than one year in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Applications include deployable flexible blankets that stow compactly for launch, rigid solar panels with improved efficiency and mass figures of merit, and wing integrated arrays for aeronautical application on Earth and other planets.   Space qualification is expected to be complete in 2014.