When we talk about solar power, most of us think of traditional silicon-based photovoltaic cells that Jimmy Carter famous installed on the roof of the White House in 1977. They have become fixtures in homes, businesses, and large-scale solar farms. But in the future, solar technology could generate power on almost any surface or window. Aaron Bates, Founder and CEO of Solar of Toledo, a Perrysburg, Ohio-based manufacturer of durable solar panels and solar glass using thin-film photovoltaic technologies, joins the conversation to discuss the benefits of US solar panels made from cadmium telluride. The material, called “cad tell”, is a by-product of other industrial processes that make it possible to build thinner photovoltaic films laid on glass. Cadtell solar technology is also easily recyclable and 60% of the material is now recovered, according to Bates.
US-made solar technology is critical to energy independence, as supply chain issues and political tensions with China have led to an 18% increase in the cost of foreign solar panels. The United States installed 20.2 gigawatts of solar power generation in 2022. The country’s current solar capacity of 142.3 GW can power more than 25 million homes, according to a March 2023 report. Solar Energy Industries Association Report. Toledo Solar windows, which come with a 30-year warranty, promise to increase a building’s generating capacity by extending the solar area beyond the roof panels.
The combination of electricity generated by traditional panels, windows and other thin-film photovoltaic systems on buildings could make our built environment energy self-sufficient. But there are many questions about how the U.S. solar industry can grow and the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act’s solar incentives. Aaron discusses the consequences of the IRA’s incentive cuts, which is the subject of debate as Republican lawmakers seek to roll them back in the debt ceiling showdown. You can learn more about Toledo Solar at toledo-solaire.com.