Flexible solar panels lucks the efficiency of standard solar panels but does have different usage possibilities.
In fact the flexible solar panels can be even printed on paper. The prove was given by a research team in the MIT. The paper photovoltaic arrays are created through an oxidative chemical vapor deposition process at temperatures less than 120 degrees Celsius.
Ordinary uncoated paper, cloth, or plastic can be used. The researchers printed solar cells on a layer of PET plastic.
Polyethylene terephthalate (sometimes written poly(ethylene terephthalate)), commonly abbreviated PET, PETE, or the obsolete PETP or PET-P, is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers; thermoforming applications; and engineering resins often in combination with glass fiber
Multiple layers and a paper mask are used to print the cells in a vacuum chamber. MIT says the procedure is nearly as cheap and easy as inkjet printing.
A quick quote:
“We have demonstrated quite thoroughly the robustness of this technology,” MIT quoted engineering professor Vladimir Bulovic as saying. “We think we can fabricate scalable solar cells that can reach record-high watts-per-kilogram performance. For solar cells with such properties, a number of technological applications open up.”
The technology is not ready for mass production yet.
You can see in the video below:
A paper solar cell circuit is dynamically folded and unfolded while the voltage is simultaneously measured on the meter. The paper photovoltaic is illuminated from below with simulated solar illumination.