Green Patent Acquisitions: Dow Meshes with NuvoSun


Thin-film solar startup NuvoSun was recently acquired by Dow Chemical. Founded in 2008 by former MiaSole CEO Dave Pearce, NuvoSun designs PV cells and modules based on flexible Copper Indium/Gallium di- Selenide (CIGS) technology.

NuvoSun owns at least two pending U.S. patent applications, Publication Nos. 2011/0300661 (’661 Application) and 2012/0174967 (’967 Application). The ’661 Application is entitled “Solar cell interconnection method using a flat metallic mesh” and directed to methods of interconnecting thin film solar cells using metallic meshes.

Both grids (2a, 3a) of the flat metallic mesh incude a solid region, or tab (4), to make the interconnection between solar cells, and a mesh region (5), which forms the current collecting grid. The mesh region (5) includes connected wire-like elements (6) with square or rectangular cross sectional shape.

Mesh region (5) has open patterns that may range from narrow diamonds (2a) to nearly perfect squares (3a). According to the ’661 Application, an advantage of this invention is that from any point in the mesh there are multiple paths to the tab (4) whereas for conventional grids there is only a single line. Therefore, the net resistance for the mesh is lower than for conventional grids of similar geometry.

The ’967 Application is entitled “Photovoltaic modules and mounting systems” and directed to PV modules including a support member (300) for supporting one or more PV cells. The support member (300) includes hexagonal though holes (301). A slot (304) defined in the support member (300) accepts an electrical attachment member for coupling a PV module to an electrical bus bar.

The ’967 Application also describes and claims a mounting frame (800) including two outer horizontal support members (801), an inner horizontal support member (802), a support member (803) orthogonal to the outer and inner support members, and vertical support members (804). The innter horizontal support member (802) is configured to hold an electrical bus bar.

According to this Greentech Media article, the NuvoSun technology is probably “destined for Dow’s solar shingles,” the building integrated PV product Dow has been promising.

Eric Lane is a patent attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at elane@mckennalong.com



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