Making Modern Solar Cells Better!
One of the challenges for increasing the adoption of solar pv systems using technology available today is the requirement for large areas to mount the solar panels. At the current efficiencies available from solar pv manufacturers it may take as much as 40 acres to provide sufficient energy to power 700 homes.
Increasing this efficiency significantly will lower the price for solar electricity and the capital required to finance the project. This could have a large impact how quickly we adopt solar power around the world.
Recently Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany in Germany has announced that they have perfected the manufacturing process to add a reflective mirrored backing to current solar cells. This mirrored background reflects the photons that were not absorbed by the solar cell the first time, back through the material. This allows a second chance for the photons to be converted into electrons thereby raising the efficiency.
The challenge for this technology is to be able to manufacture it at the same speeds and quality levels of today’s solar cells. The team at Fraunhofer developed a single pass laser operation that can be added to current solar cell processes that quickly cuts openings in the backing for as many as one hundred thousand connections.
The connections are necessary so the free electrons from the solar cell can be transmitted to where they are needed.
Way to go Fraunhofer!
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.