The prototype high-efficiency, flexible, and highly stowable solar panel to be developed in this Phase I program are ideally suited for building low-cost, high efficiency and lightweight power sources for potential NASA programs including solar electric propulsion and small satellites. There is a strong need for higher efficiency, higher specific power, and lower cost solar cells. The technology developed under this program would lead to more efficient and more power dense, which would enable applications that are not possible today. The ELO process provides a unique technology platform that cannot be matched by any other technology at the present time. With an appropriate amount of funding, this technology will be commercialized for a wide variety of applications. MicroLink has developed a strong relationship with prime contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Loral, and Boeing. MicroLink plans to increase its manufacturing infrastructure to support larger solar cell programs.
MicroLink has engaged in discussions with several manufacturers of satellites, including Airbus Defence and Boeing, which have taken particular interest in MicroLink's ELO technology for the potential in reducing the cost of space solar cells while improving the efficiency compared to commercially available Ge-based solar cells. Our unique combination of efficiency and specific power provide a powerful combination that has direct applications in UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) and high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV markets. HALE UAVs are increasingly becoming an indispensible capability of the U.S. military for persistent reconnaissance and communication. New UAV platforms such as the Airbus Zephyr aircraft are capable of staying aloft for several months at a time and can further enhance data gathering while significantly reducing acquisition and operational costs over existing platforms. MicroLink's high-efficiency, lightweight, and high specific power solar cells are a critical and enabling technology that will increase the flight endurance of HALE platforms and extend the amount of uninterrupted time the vehicle can loiter above a target.