• 3 minutes Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 7 minutes Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 12 minutes Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
  • 3 hours Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 9 hours Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 6 hours Tesla Closing a Dozen Solar Facilities in Nine States
  • 12 hours Saudi Arabia plans to physically cut off Qatar by moat, nuclear waste and military base
  • 6 hours Why is permian oil "locked in" when refineries abound?
  • 3 hours Gazprom Exports to EU Hit Record
  • 3 hours Could oil demand collapse rapidly? Yup, sure could.
  • 4 hours EU Leaders Set To Prolong Russia Sanctions Again
  • 3 hours Oil Buyers Club
  • 5 hours Oil prices going down
  • 1 day Teapots Cut U.S. Oil Shipments
  • 42 mins Saudi Arabia turns to solar
  • 20 hours Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
  • 6 hours EVs Could Help Coal Demand
  • 12 hours China’s Plastic Waste Ban Will Leave 111 Million Tons of Trash With Nowhere To Go
  • 1 day Hot line, Macron: Phone Calls With Trump Are Like Sausages Best Not To Know What Is Inside
What Will Follow The Age Of Oil?

What Will Follow The Age Of Oil?

Natural gas production is exploding…

OPEC Confident Global Oil Demand Will Stay Strong

OPEC Confident Global Oil Demand Will Stay Strong

The OPEC technical panel has…

New Solar Cell Boasts High Efficiency, Lower Cost

Panasonic and SunPower have unveiled the specifications of a new technology that allows silicon solar cells to achieve record efficiency at a cost that they say is competitive with carbon-based fuels.

Until now, the record was held by a cell developed in Australia two decades ago. The new development is seen as significant progress for silicon solar cells, the most common devices on the market. The details were outlined recently at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in Denver.

“Amazingly, the 20-year-old efficiency record was eclipsed at this conference by three companies, Panasonic, Sharp, and SunPower,” says Richard Swanson, cofounder and former president of SunPower.

The new design combines technologies used in the most efficient designs of solar cells already on the market, which already are made by SunPower and Panasonic. The SunPower cells have improved efficiency because both positive and negative contacts are on the back of the cell, not on the front, which would block sunlight.

Panasonic adds a feature that provides more efficiency: It applies thin films of silicon to both sides of the crystalline silicon wafers in the cell to prevent imperfections at or near the wafers’ surfaces from trapping electrons, which would decrease current and voltage.

Related Article: China Might Be Winning The Race To Reduce Solar Costs

The new solar cell turns 25.6 percent of sunlight energy into electricity. This may seem like a small improvement in efficiency over the 25 percent achieved by the previous record holder, which was developed in Australia at the University of New South Wales.

But even this small edge can mean far greater power output from a large array of solar cells. More important, it demonstrates that the design adjustments to solar cells by both Panasonic and SunPower can lead to even greater improvement from future research.

Panasonic says the price for such panels are likely to be competitive with more conventional, carbon-based sources of electricity. Still, Martin Green, the Australian researcher who developed the previous record holder, says they will need high-quality – and high-cost – silicon crystals. Green’s designs often use lower-cost silicon and, as a result, are being adopted by several manufacturers of solar cells.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News