Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cheap Solar Cells

Via Lady Ada, I have learned that a new technique has been pioneered to make inexpensive and powerful solar cells by depositing more effective chemicals on top of the traditional silicon.
Silicon solar cells are about 10% efficient. That is, of all the solar energy that hits them, 10% becomes electricity, and the other 90% is turned to heat. With the chemical additive, the cells are now 40% efficient. The main problem in the past was that the expensive additive was very fragile, and tended to break while being put in place, when ruined the cell.
With the depositing trick, the fragile layer builds up on top of the silicon, which tends to hold its shape. The best of both worlds is thereby achieved. This should make solar power cheaper.
Anything that helps us get more energy with less pollution, I'm all for it.

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