Breakthrough in Renewable Energy Research gives Way to Low Cost production of Solar Panels

low cost solar cells

Each time we look at the features of a solar power system, the option that makes a lot of average income earners want to look for alternatives will always be the cost of acquiring the system. “If that’s the case then let’s use the cash we have to fix the noisy generator. It’s a better option.”

But researchers at the University of Toledo are determined to make this scenario a history –especially in developing countries – with the production of the most efficient and cost effective solar panel ever made. The production of more efficient solar cells has been made possible with the discovery of compound materials known as Perovskites.

Perovskites, compound materials with promise for the energy industry, possess a special crystal structure formed by chemistry. These compound materials can convert the sun’s light into useful electrical energy and are likely going to replace silicon in future solar cells.

Perovskites can replace silicon in future solar cells.

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At this level of development, tandem perovskite solar cells produced by University of Toledo researchers have efficiency of about 23 percent. Unlike silicon solar panels which have an efficiency of about 18 percent. Dr. Yanfa Yan, professor of physics at the University of Toledo says people have already started investing in tandem Perovskites solar cells and expects these solar panels to be in the consumer market in the near future.

According the ScienceDaily, these unique properties of Perovskites were discovered about five years ago. Since then, Dr. Yan and his team have been working on producing an all-perovskites ‘tandem’ solar cell: a cell that will combine two solar cells to increase the amount of electrical power produced from the sun’s light.

This improved energy conversion is possible because the all-perovskites tandem solar cells will convert the sun’s energy by harnessing two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.

Solar spectrum (a term used to describe the range of electromagnetic energy emitted by the sun), can be sectioned into three regions: Visible light, Ultraviolet and Infrared. Today’s solar panel relies more on visible light to produce electrical power. The tandem solar cells will be more effective in using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.

Silicon cell in calculator using visible light

What’s yet to be determined is the lifetime of this new material. But with the $1.1 million grant awarded by the United States Department of Energy to Dr Yan’s team who will be working with the National Renewable Energy Lab, necessary research and corrections will be made to bring the new solar panels to consumers in the near future.

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