While most products of modern technology are becoming faster, more efficient and above all affordable, the same isn’t exactly true for solar panels, which mostly manage an efficiency of 20 percent and are still an expensive means to produce renewable energy. Battling the problem, researchers over the globe are coming up with advancements that help in making solar electricity affordable and efficient.
Just yesterday we reported about NREL’s and Solar Junction’s solar cells, which are being claimed to be the most efficient in the world hitting 44 percent on the efficiency scale, and today we have another research on the same lines that aims to top that with solar panels that are up to 50 percent efficient. The DARPA-funded project aims to make use of nanomaterials to split sunshine into its constituent colors and then use specially designed solar materials to harvest a specific color.
Treehugger states that, for the past several years scientists have been trying to manipulate light at a small scale to sort it by color, which can then be trapped and guided to one spot using thin layers of materials. While this tech does the same job, the problem arises when the technology is scaled up. The new research does make sure that the nanomaterial-splitting solar cells achieve an efficiency of up to 50 percent even on a large scale, at least in theory. Though the tech is still in its infancy and could take years, if not decades, to reach a commercial level, it could allow solar panels to be produced at competitive prices and reduce the cost of solar produced electricity.