Low-Cost Solar Breakthrough

March 2, 2016

New cell design to cut implementation costs, increase efficiency.

While silicon solar cells make up the vast majority of existing capacity, cadmium telluride (CdTe) cells could be the wave of the future, as a new report shows increased performance for the low-cost material.

The research, published in Nature Energy, finds that while previous CdTe cells had been limited to a maximum of 900 millivolts, improvements in the production method can drive the cells’ production past the 1-volt barrier. This makes them a more attractive option than silicon due to the lower manufacturing cost .

In addition to costing less than traditional options, the researchers from NREL note that CdTe cells are more environmentally friendly to produce as well as performing better under conditions such as low-light and humidity. With the 1-volt barrier broken, the scientists predict that efficiency levels for CdTe cells can be improved even further to provide a cheaper, greener option for solar implementation.

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