Solar Cells Collect More Light, Display Art

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Friend and frequent contributor Colin Rush sent this Economist item about Semprius, a concentrating solar cell maker about to go into production with their highly efficient technology. It’s big news that a production solar panel is able to convert 42.5 percent of sunlight falling on it into energy, when the world’s record for any solar cell was set last September by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems with an experimental multi-junction solar cell that’s 44.7 percent efficient.  The 42.5 percent for Semprius cells drops to about 35 percent when they are surrounded by the normal mounting flanges and connecting lines – still well above most production panels. These may achieve 50 percent with suitable refinement. Using breakthroughs devised …

Solar Cells – All That Glitters Need Not Be Gold

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The search for less expensive solar cells drives many lines of research these days, with trends toward smaller collectors and less expensive materials leading the way.  Many solar cells use gold and other pricey metals to provide junctions within the cell structure.  Gold closed Friday at $1,204.00 per troy ounce on the London Metal Exchange, and nickel at $10.01 per pound.  That would make gold worth $17,558 per avoirdupois pound (14.583 troy ounces per pound), or 1,754 times more expensive than nickel.    According to Gizmag, University of Toronto investigators found that substituting nickel for the previously used gold as collection contacts in their colloidal quantum dot solar cells provided equal performance, at a 40 to 80-percent drop in solar …