Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Solar Cell Breakthrough Could Lead to Extremely Efficient Yet Cheap Solar Cells

Netherlands (TGW) – The avalanche effect by electrons in fact does occur in specific, very small semiconducting crystals, according to researchers TU Delft in the Netherlands. This discovery could pave the way for cheap, high-output solar cells.

Cool looking solar thermal panels
One possible improvement to current solar cells could be solar cells manufactured from semiconducting extremely small crystals. Conventional solar cells can produce exactly one light particle (a photon) can release exactly one energy particle (an electron).

In some semiconducting crystals, however, one photon can release two or three electrons, hence the term avalanche effect. According to the researchers, solar cells with these crystals can be manufactured relatively cheaply.

This could theoretically lead to solar cell efficiency of 44%, much higher than today’s solar cell’s. The current record for solar cell efficiency is 42.8%, but the average efficiency for commercial solar cells is around 14-19%.

Via :: Press Release


Jim's Words Music and Science said...

Thanks for the post on this exciting topic. Clearly, the efficiency of solar panels is extremely important, especially if high efficiency does not increase the initial capital cost too much. The longer it takes for people to recover the cost of their investment through energy savings, the less they are likely to take the plunge. This decision process is highly influenced by tax codes, which vary widely across the US and around the world. The US Federal Tax Code is far behind much of the developed world in promoting clean energy. Of course, the White House has been very active in attempting to thwart energy reform (see, e.g. greenchemistry.wordpress.com/
on "White House Role Cited in EPA Reversal on Emissions".

Best wishes, Jim

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