Thin, flexible, high efficiency ELO IMM solar cells, currently under development by MicroLink, are attractive as replacements for the solar cells in existing power arrays, for next-generation spacecraft designs, and for solar electric power (SEP) systems. One of the advantages of ELO cells is that they are less costly than the current generation of Ge-based triple-junction solar cells because the substrate on which the solar cell is grown can be reused multiple times: ultimately the effective cost of the substrate approaches the cost of repolishing after ELO. This advantage will be further enhanced by the proposed substrate reuse technology development: the cost of repolishing the substrate may drop from tens of dollars to less than one dollar which will result in a substantial reduction in the cost of the ELO cell. Major commercial manufacturers of spacecraft solar panels have shown substantial interest in MicroLink's solar cells and in lightweight, flexible photovoltaic modules that contain these cells. The flexible, conformal nature of the cells also makes them suitable for integration with spacesuits and other structures, such as remote fuel generation facilities or habitats. Finally, lightweight, conformal ELO solar cell arrays are useful for reducing the weight and increasing the operational range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Thin, flexible, high efficiency ELO IMM solar cells are also well suited for commercial and military satellites and spacecraft, either as replacements for existing solar cells in conventional array designs, or in novel, high power arrays. The cells are attractive for electrical power generation in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which has been demonstrated to allow substantial endurance enhancements. The cells are also useful for terrestrial power generation in high value military applications, such as off-grid power generation and battery charging. Finally, the cells are attractive for the terrestrial concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) market. In all cases, the proposed substrate reuse technology development will substantially reduce the cost of ELO solar cells and arrays, thereby making the cells more commercially attractive.