Thin-film solar technology is important because of its size. The cells are up to 350 times thinner than larger silicon-wafer cells, giving them flexibility, and on top of that, they are much cheaper. The solar cell in your scientific calculator is a thin-film cell, and lately researchers have been able to make much larger, cost-effective, more efficient thin-film solar cells. Whereas a few years ago, silicon-wafer technology was far more efficient than thin-film, now thin-film cells are operating at competitive efficiencies.
Thin-film cells are manufactured using cadmium, however, which is a highly toxic material, but research is being done to discover cadmium-free technologies to use in thin-film cells.
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