The Chronar Corporation originally developed a batch plasma
deposition process for making amorphous silicon substrates.
After Chronar filed bankruptcy in 1990, the principal investor formed Advanced Photovoltaic Systems, Inc. (APS) and continued development of the a-Si deposition process at a Trenton NJ pilot plant. APS eventually transferred the technology and equipment to a special purpose plant in Fairfield, CA in 1992-93 and operated it in limited production until bankruptcy again intervened. Factory assets were eventually purchased by BP Solar.
(The above information is from a NREL report done for the U.S. Department of Energy.)
The back side of the panels have metal conductors deposited on them,
and most of my panels have a clear protective coating sealing them.
To expose the conductive surface I use lacquer thinner and a Q tip to dissolve and remove the clear protective coating. Than I can use an alligator clip or some other spring loaded clip to make electrical contact with the panel.
I characterized the panels with a variable load circuit I threw together before making my solar shunt project
The panels put out about 10 volts with no load in full sun light and maximum power occurs at between 6 and 7 volts.