Ultra-Thin Solar Panels Achieve Record Efficiency

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    • #490553
      Gryneos
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      • Total Posts: 2,132

      from NASA Tech Briefs

      Ultra-Thin Solar Panels Achieve Record Efficiency

      Solar Panels Image
      The thin silicon membrane uses a disordered honeycomb layer to maximize the absorption of sunlight. (Image: University of Surrey)

      In a paper published in American Chemical Society’s ACS Photonics, a University of Surrey team detailed how they used characteristics of sunlight to design a disordered honeycomb layer to lie on top of a wafer of silicon. Their approach is echoed in nature in the design of butterfly wings and bird eyes. The honeycomb design enables light absorption from any angle and traps light inside the solar cell, enabling more energy to be generated.

      In the laboratory, they achieved absorption rates of 26.3 mA/cm2, a 25 percent increase on the previous record of 19.72 mA/cm2 achieved in 2017. They secured an efficiency of 21 percent but anticipate that further improvements will push the figure higher, resulting in efficiencies that are significantly better than many commercially available photovoltaics.

      Dr Marian Florescu  from the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) said, “One of the challenges of working with silicon is that nearly a third of the light bounces straight off it without being absorbed and the energy harnessed. A textured layer across the silicon helps tackle this and our disordered, yet hyperuniform, honeycomb design is particularly successful.”

      Dr Florescu continued, “There’s enormous potential for using ultra-thin photovoltaics. For example, given how light they are, they will be particularly useful in space and could make new extra-terrestrial projects viable. Since they use so much less silicon, we are hoping there will be cost savings here on Earth as well, plus there could be potential to bring more benefits from the Internet of Things and to create zero-energy buildings powered locally.”

      (that’s the whole page, no more at linked headline)

      The people-to-cake ratio is too high.

    • #490566
      jbnw
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      • Total Posts: 9,596

      Or is it like an electric vehicle, affordable only by a select few?

      • #490567
        Gryneos
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        • Total Posts: 2,132

        I would suspect, that like any other “home improvement” that you can get a loan.

        The people-to-cake ratio is too high.

      • #490619
        Punxsutawney
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        • Total Posts: 2,367

        But about 15 years ago here in Oregon, the cost after tax credits was around 4k to install 3kwh of solar. That would pay off in about 8 to 10 years of lower utility bills. The panels would last 20+ years. Would probably have saved more since the panels would have shaded the house some and reduced AC load as well. I have no idea what it would cost today, probably a lot more.

        In America, “Liberty” means “Free to Die in Service of Capital” - Amfortas the hippie.

        Most of today’s elites have the moral and social reasoning capacities of spoiled toddlers.

        “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage...but the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing c

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