Renewable Energy AssociationSolar Trade AssociationAct on Co2
Solar Panel News

New Solar Cell Developed, Could Replace Traditional Silicone Cells

Scientists working at the University of Cambridge have announced the development of a new kind of solar cell which can boost solar panel efficiency by more than 25 per cent, as compared to regular silicon-based cells. However, it will take another two or three years for them to evaluate whether or not the solar cell is commercially feasible.

According to a statement collected by the journal NanoLetters, this hybrid solar cell can convert 44 per cent of sunlight to produce electrical energy, which is 29 per cent more than silicon cells output.

Solar cells are used to convert sun’s energy into usable electricity. The energy is absorbed via semi-conductor materials such as silicon, through light particles known as photons. These photons then generate electrons to produce electricity.

However, it is not yet possible for silicon solar cells to extract the entire energy generated by the photon, which leads to loss of energy produced by the more energetic blue photons. Generally, each solar cell produces one electron from every photon captured.

Bruno Ehrier, who is the lead author of the research, spoke to Reuters about his team’s invention.

“We present the first hybrid solar cell that utilizes a phenomenon called singlet exciton fission to generate two electrons for each absorbed photon in the organic material,” said Ehrier.

Hybrid cells were first developed in 1996, but efficiency has always been an issue. This is still being worked upon, leading to improvements and upgrades such as this.

“These hybrid cells are the first of their kind so it is very difficult to estimate when they will go into commercialization,” added Ehrier, “The firm Eight 19 works closely with the group and will put our cells in production if they turn out to be commercially viable. However, in order to assess that, we need to investigate the devices further. This might take 2 to 3 years.”

Recently, there has been a sharp drop in prices for solar panels UK, putting manufacturers under greater pressure to produce even cheaper type of solar installations. New technologies like concentrating photovoltaic solar, which can multiply sun’s energy to the factor of several hundreds, have gained the direct backing of industry bigwigs, who are relying on their promise to deliver cheaper, more efficient forms of alternative energy as opposed to conventional solar panels.

“Since our materials can be dissolved and processed by roll-to-roll printing, we expect that actual cost of a solar panel be much lower than with conventional silicon solar cells,” says Ehrier.

“On an industrical scale, the cost of making the basic silicone solar cell would dominate over the cost of an organic layer printed on top of it. However, this discovery is in an early stage so it is difficult to predict the final cost and device structure,” he finished.

In the face of Government’s cruel subsidy cuts and the overwhelmingly bleak future of solar panels in UK, this new development comes as a shining beacon of hope for manufacturers and customers all around.


This entry was posted in Renewable Energy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.