How Florida State Scientists Are Making Solar Cells More Efficient
Solar energy is clean, renewable, and theoretically abundant enough to power the world several times over—but the widespread adoption of solar is held back by the efficiency limit of current photovoltaic (PV) cell technology. Because today’s solar cells can only harness a portion of the sun’s energy, yet are relatively expensive to produce, it takes several years for a solar energy system to produce enough energy to pay for itself.
Researchers at Florida State University are hoping to change that. In a new publication from the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, a team of researchers unveiled a new approach, designed to create more efficient types of solar cells. In addition to seeking new materials to replace the conventional (and expensive) materials like silicon used to make PV panels, the team is exploring new components within the solar cell to boost energy production.
Previous researchers have made advances by placing extra photon conversion filters immediately before or after the call to capture more energy from the incoming light.. Now, the team at FSU is looking to integrate these filters into the cell directly. So far, their initial trials indicate an efficiency of more than 45 percent, a major leap from the current 33 percent maximum of a hybrid cell.
Despite the advancements being made by scientists and engineers, it will likely be years before these developments are available commercially to the general market. In the meantime, racking and mounting systems, especially the Solar FlexRack Solar Tracker, can aid in making existing cells more efficient. The Solar FlexRack Tracker, for example, moves solar panels to “track” the sun’s position throughout the sky, resulting in a higher capture of solar energy for conversion.
If you have questions about the Solar FlexRack Solar Tracker, or any of our commercial solar products, don’t hesitate to contact us.