Are You Using the Right Solar Metric?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015


Adding solar can greatly extend the endurance and range of fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). However, there may be associated performance tradeoffs to consider. So how do you choose the right solar photovoltaic technology?

Typically, efficiency is the only metric considered. In reality, this is an inadequate measure. UAVs have unique weight and area constraints that should be accounted for. Excess weight detracts from payload lift capacity and wing surface area is limited.


Why Gallium Arsenide?

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

We are often asked why we use gallium arsenide (GaAs) to build our solar cells. It’s because GaAs naturally performs better at converting the sun’s energy into electricity than other materials under normal conditions. Further, GaAs solar cells deliver more energy in high heat or low light, two of the most common real-world conditions for solar cells! We have developed a way to manufacture thin, flexible layers of GaAs that utilize only tiny amounts of material but retain all of the performance benefits of a traditional GaAs solar cell. This allows the solar cells to be cost-effectively incorporated into a wide variety of end products, bringing our vision of “Solar Everywhere” even closer to reality.


Alta Devices Solar Energy Technology – (em)Powering the Unplugged World

Monday, February 9th, 2015

At Alta, we believe that solar energy should be economically competitive with other sources of energy, without government subsidies.   We’ve developed a technology that we think does that.  Based on gallium-arsenide, our solar cells are thin, light and flexible and hold the world record for being the most efficient at converting the sun’s energy to electricity.  These are the characteristics that not only create an economically compelling source of clean energy, but also make it possible to capture the sun’s energy almost anywhere. (more…)