Design to Boost Efficiency of Solar Cells

Nov. 30, 2015

Double-cell construction found to improve performance.

A two-cell design for solar energy generation has been developed that could push photovoltaic efficiency past the 30% milestone. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) discovered a “tandem” design that stacks two solar cells on top of each other. The use of polycrystalline thin filmsdrives down the cost of production while improving efficiency.

The initial prototype has an efficiency of 20.5%, though the researchers are quick to note that the output could be improved due to the design’s better conversion of the solar spectrum into electricity. Additionally, the construction of the design uses perovskite copper indium gallium diselenide, which also helps the double-layer cell convert a larger share of incident solar energy into power. While the technology isn’t ready for commercial production yet, the researchers note that further development will help improve energy yield and create a scalable design that can be used to help cut energy costs.

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