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Scientists may have created solar panels that are twice as effective

Scientists at SEAS have created solar panels that are more efficient than anything we can find in the market right now. This was achieved by using state-of-the-art technology that is capable of capturing a wider spectrum of sunlight. This type of innovation is crucial to creating a green and feasible energy industry.

The new solar cell created by scientists can convert solar light into electricity with an efficiency of 44.5%. Current technology allows conversion to electricity with only 25% efficiency, and that’s the happiest cases. The new solar cell uses concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) panels and it works by adding more layers of material to a single cell, each absorbing a certain portion of the sunlight’s spectrum.

The new technology differs from standard technology in two ways. First, scientists could assemble the parts of the cell more accurately using a technique that’s called transfer printing. Second, they have used materials derived from gallium antimonide (GaSb) substrates, which are commonly used for infrared lasers and photodetectors, to fully absorb direct sunlight. Read full study here.

Matthew Lumb, a researcher at George Washington University in the United States and the head of the study, says that the new device is also capable of using the energy stored in long-wave photon, energy that is lost in conventional solar cells. These being the case, we could soon face a drastic increase in efficiency when we decide to build our photovoltaic solar panel system.

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