Rows of aluminium studs help solar panels extract more energy from sunlight than those with flat surfaces.
Most solar cells used in homes and industry are made using thick layers of material to absorb sunlight, but have been limited in the past by relatively high costs. Many new, lower cost designs are limited as their layer of light-absorbing material is too thin to extract enough energy.
In new research, scientists have demonstrated that the efficiency of all solar panel designs could be improved by up to 22 per cent by covering their surface with aluminium studs that bend and trap light inside the absorbing layer.
At the microscopic level, the studs make the surface of the solar panels look similar to the interlocking building bricks played with by children across the world.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports by scientists from Imperial College London and international collaborators in Belgium, China and Japan.
“In recent years both the efficiency and cost of commercial solar panels have improved but they remain expensive compared to fossil fuels. As the absorbing material alone can make up half the cost of a solar panel our aim has been to reduce to a minimum the amount that is needed,” said lead author Dr Nicholas Hylton from the Department of Physics at Imperial College London.
“The success of our technology, in combination with modern anti-reflection coatings, will take us a long way down the path towards highly efficient and thin solar cells that could be available at a competitive price.”
Dr Hylton and his colleagues attached rows of aluminium cylinders just 100 nanometres across to the top of the solar panel, where they interact with passing light, causing individual light rays to change course. More energy is extracted from the light as the rays become effectively trapped inside the solar panel and travel for longer distances through its absorbing layer.
The Latest on: Solar panel designs
- Renewable Alert Letter 37: Mega Solar: 32MW and Up Possibly Subject to Environmental Impact Assessment Act on November 12, 2018 at 12:40 pm
On November 1, 2018, the Ministry of the Environment ("MOE") announced that, at the "4th Review Session on Basic Policy Regarding Solar Facilities and the Environmental Impact Assessment," it plans to ... […]
- This old school bus is now a solar-powered home on wheels on November 12, 2018 at 9:15 am
Just past the kitchen is the bathroom, which features a tiled design and has a full shower and composting ... Atop the mobile home is a solar panel, three skylights to let the sun in, an air condition... […]
- Florida development is a trifecta of solar power, size and efficiency on November 12, 2018 at 7:57 am
Then they are topped off with solar panels connected to 9MWh of Sonnen batteries so that ... in combination with expert LEED Platinum home design, “has changed the equation for the ability to truly op... […]
- Caterpillar Offers SunPower Solar Panels on November 12, 2018 at 6:32 am
Cat PVC395 MP solar panels, rated at 395 W per panel, can achieve efficiencies of over 19% through a shingled-cell design with multiple redundant paths for electricity flow. The companies say this ... […]
- Spectacular Solar 3rd Quarter Earnings Report Shines Brightly on November 11, 2018 at 9:29 pm
DC Solar Integrators designs and installs state-of-the-art solar ... expenses directly associated with the installation of solar panel systems. In return, the fund receives a share of tax benefits ... […]
via Google News and Bing News