Thanks to the efforts of a North Carolina-based company, solar panels are about to get a lot more efficient. Semprius produces the collection devices by stacking materials on top of each other in order to catch more frequencies of light. In the process, cell stacking boosted efficiency to around 45 percent during tests. The new tech can be produced quickly using cells that are one millimeter across to reduce cooling needs while combining semiconductor materials and reusing the components cells are grown on. All of that will help Semprius achieve 50 percent efficiency in the next three to five years — up from the current 25 percent range. Unfortunately, the new method will be quite expensive until demand warrants mass production. However, more efficient collection will lead to lower overall cost in the long run, and make solar power as cheap as that produced by natural gas facilities.
Filed under: Science
Source: MIT Technology Review