Swedish solar energy leader Midsummer moves into space
The Swedish solar energy leader Midsummer has entered into a partnership with the Italian research consortium Hypatia to provide ultra-lightweight thin film solar cells for a number of cutting-edge projects, including a space mission to the stratosphere planned for October 2022.
It is Midsummer Italia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swedish developer of equipment for the production of thin film solar cells Midsummer, that has signed a cooperation agreement with Hypatia for the joint implementation of applied research projects as well as for the development of components for the production of energy from solar sources for application in the aerospace and defense fields.
Hypatia is a research consortium based in Rome and co-founder, together with the Italian Space Agency, of E. Amaldi Foundation, focusing on advanced research projects in the fields of space exploration, environmental data monitoring through space missions, development of innovative materials as well as in other advanced technologies sectors.
Hypatia will adopt a special version of Midsummer's thin film CIGS cells (ultra-lightweight) for a number of projects, including a space mission to the stratosphere planned for October 2022.
“I am thrilled to see this cooperation being formed, not least because it cements Midsummer’s position as the global leader in advanced thin film solar cell research and development,” said Sven Lindström, CEO, Midsummer. “Our unique solar cells have a wide range of applications – not only solar roofs, vehicles and facades but also spacecraft!”
The specially developed solar cell for space applications is extremely light, much lighter than the GaAs cells that are often used for space applications today. Midsummer’s solar cell for space applications consists of a thin titanium substrate with a thin CIGS layer on top.
“The Midsummer titanium solar cell is much more durable than the brittle GaAs cells, which crack very easily,” stated Dr Flavio Lucibello, president of Hypatia. “It also tolerates cosmic radiation much better than ordinary silicon solar cells. We believe it to be the best choice for solar in space.”
“The sky is apparently not the limit for Midsummerb” said Jarno Montella, CEO of Midsummer Italia. “I look forward to many orders coming from the space sector.”
"We are very happy to start working with Midsummer on a number of space projects,” said Dr Flavio Lucibello. “We believe Midsummer's technology allows us to provide energy in the most effective and light-weight manner to space scientific payloads, from stratospheric balloons to small satellites."
Midsummer Italia will soon start construction of its factory in Bari where light, discreet and environmentally friendly thin film solar cells, including solar roofs, will be manufactured. The factory will be the largest facility in Europe for the production of thin film solar cells.
Caption: A solar cell from Midsummer (photo: Midsummer)