Clean Technology 2009

RAPDAR™ Roll-out and Passively Deployed Array - High Efficiency Solar Array

R. Barret, R. Taylor
Composite Technology Development, Inc., US

Keywords: high efficiency solar array lightweight deployable structure


Under recent Air Force funding, Composite Technology Development, Inc., (CTD), of Lafayette, Colorado, has developed the Roll-out And Passively Deployed Array (RAPDAR™); a family of lightweight solar array structures designed specifically for thin, lightweight, solar cells. Concurrently, other Air Force funded research has led to the development of lightweight, high efficiency GaAs-based multijunction solar cells that are less than 20 microns-thick. These next generation crystalline cells provide better efficiency than current, thicker, state-of-the-art rigid solar cells (31% Efficiency Vs. 28.5% Efficiency). Successful integration of these next-generation thinned cells (such as Emcore Corporation’s IMM cells) onto the RAPDAR solar array structure will result in a 6-fold improvement in specific power (W/kg) over current rigid panel arrays, and will enable large arrays up to 100kW in size. Furthermore, the RAPDAR™ array with IMM cells will provide 25-50% better specific power than Alliant Techsystem’s (ATK’s) Ultraflex array.
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