Ingenious Solar Cell Advancements

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Ingenious Solar Cell Advancements

Solar power provides exciting possibilities to energy consumers. A free, abundant and renewable resource, solar energy gives communities clean ways to protect both energy security and the environment. Switching to sun power lowers dependence on variable foreign oil markets by offering a non-polluting energy choice. Sun power is converted to electricity through solar photovoltaics (PVs). Improving photovoltaic technology is an important step in making solar energy affordable, efficient and reliable. Discover ten inventive PV technologies that are strengthening solar markets.

Intermediate Band Solar Arrays:
 With efficiencies reaching up to 60%, intermediate band solar arrays (IBSAs) are created using silicon nanowires. Increased control over crystal orientation and faceting helps improve electronic coupling to boost PV efficiency.

Multijunction Wide-Array Solar Cells:
Multijunction wide-array solar cells join the strengths of crystalline silicon and thin-film technologies. The new tandem solar cells are efficient, easy to produce and low-cost.

Hydrogenated Nanocrystalline Synthesis:
Advances in hydrogenated nanocrystalline synthesis use hot-carrier devices to improve efficiency. New silicon films promote absorption, deter degradation and lengthen product life.

Highly Efficient Thin-Film Solar Cells:
Creating very thin-film crystalline solar cells helps to reduce the cost of PV modules. By upholding efficiency standards when minimizing material needs, PV technology can be cost-competitive.

Tin Sulfide Advancements:
Tin sulfide provides thin-film PV cells with increased absorption capabilities. This helps make them more efficient. These cells are economical to produce because both tin and sulfur are common materials. Their low refining temperatures mean they will have a decreased cost of production.

Earth Abundant Materials:
Using materials that are prevalent in the environment to create a wide variety of photovoltaics helps to drive down production costs and make PVs more affordable for consumers. Incorporating scalable production process to manufacture PVs from commonly found materials also makes PV markets competitive.

Copper Nitrate Absorbers:
Copper and nitrate have stable structures that are good matches for PV absorbers. With continued research into crystal structures and properties, copper nitrate absorbers are expected to give photovoltaics increased energy efficiencies.

Copper Oxysulfide Absorbers:
Research in this area seeks to develop solar absorbers with energy efficiencies above 20%. Pairing copper oxide with bands of sulfur, zinc and magnesium in solar absorbers creates a structure that can efficiently capture sunlight.

Breaking the Shockley-Queisser Limit:
The Shockley-Queisser Limit is the supposed maximum efficiency of a solar cell that collects power using a p-n junction. Attempts to break the Shockley-Queisser Limit involve developing a single-junction cell that can interact with a larger part of the solar spectrum. These efforts seek to transform lower-energy photons into higher-energy photons, thereby generating stronger currents and voltages. Photoconversion efforts are geared towards amorphous silicon and organic material photovoltaics.

Cadmium Selenide and Silicon Cell Developments:
Research in cadmium selenide (CdSe) and Silicon (Si) cell developments focus on creating high voltage in wide band-gap circuits between the top and bottom cells. CdSe will be used as the top cell and Si will be used as the bottom cell to achieve an efficiency over 25% and a voltage over 1.1 V for a high-performing, highly efficient solar cell.

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