RTI International develops low cost solar technology to speed up adoption


Currently, even after the steep rise in the cost of energy and the rise in carbon emissions resulting from the production of conventional electricity, solar energy represents less than 1 percent of the total global energy supply. The reason for these low figures is the high cost of solar panels and other required infrastructure used for producing and storing renewable solar energy. Researchers at RTI International have now come up with an innovative solar technology, which aims to reduce the cost of solar panels and make it a lot more lucrative.

Unlike conventional solar panels, which are made using crystalline silicon, RTI’s solar cells are made using solution of semiconductor particles, known as colloidal quantum dots. This makes solar panels just as efficient and traditional cells but can be manufactured at just a fraction of the price. The cells can be made using low cost raw materials and processing techniques, with analysis stating that the a square meter of solar panels can be made for less than $20, which is 75 percent less than traditional cells. Moreover, these solar cells have an efficiency of about 5 percent, which is comparable with the efficiency rating of most solar panels currently in use today. Apart from being affordable, RTI’s solar cells have higher infrared sensitivity, which further allows the cells to utilize more of the available spectrum of incident sunlight for producing renewable energy.

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