The Solar Cell That's 25% More Efficient

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted February 8, 2012

The price drop of silicon solar cells has made them increasingly popular and required companies to step up their game to remain competitive.

And new research may have revealed the secret weapon for ruling the market.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge in England have been working on an ultra-effective solar cell technology that increases efficiency over 25%.

While regular silicon cells can convert 34% of sunlight into power, these hybrid cells increase this to 44%.

Silicon cells only have the capability of extracting a single electron from every photon, or light particle, which means losing a lot of the energy as heat.

The hybrid cells can instead extract two electrons per photon, and they also utilize some power from the energetic blue photons.

Eight19, a British solar company, is working with the scientists at Cambridge.  Research author Bruno Ehrler has indicated that this company would be the first to obtain these cells if they ever go into production.

But scientists still aren’t sure the cells are capable of going commercial.  Though they are very low-cost to make, other things, such as land and installation, factor in.

Ehrler explained this to TG Daily:

“Even if organic solar panels are less expensive, we need to improve their efficiency to make them competitive.  Otherwise, it’d be like buying a cheap painting, only to find out you need an expensive frame.”

Researchers have indicated they will require at least two to three more years to determine if the hybrid cells can survive on a commercial market.

But these cells, which, as Ehrler says, “can be dissolved and processed by roll-to-roll printing,” have the potential to set forth a huge shift in an already changing industry.

That’s all for now,


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