Cheap hack may double solar panel power

MIT researchers have devised something they call the Solar Concentrator which is to be placed on top of existing solar cells. Its purpose is to separate the visible and infrared spectra of light by absorbing the visible spectrum and routing the energy to specialized cells. They claim this could lead to doubling the panel’s efficiency and greatly reducing costs.

We have seen many promising advances to solar panel efficiency in the past few years, but what is special about this one is the amazingly simple and cheap technique. Essentially, all the team has done is coat a piece of glass with simple organic dyes. After the organic molecules absorb the visible light, they remit the energy to the sides of the glass where it can be routed to their specific cells. The process is more efficient because the dye absorbs the light rather than something expensive like silicon. That means less silicon, and thus a better price range. Also, the fact that this material is just a piece of glass also opens up the possibility of solar windows.

Comments

  1. Skyler Orlando says:

    Yeah, if you could control how much light was absorbed, you’d have self-powered auto-dimming windows! lol

  2. Grant says:

    Lol, all you would need to do is add a layer of liquid crystal and Voila!, privacy glass

  3. Haku says:

    I’ve been idly following solar power ‘developments’ and ‘breakthrough’ stories for a few years now, but like virtually all the other headlines & stories it’s “might this” and “could that” and “hope to” – no tangeable physical results of cheaper or higher wattage solar panels.

    Wake me up when shop-bought solar panels really are less than $1/watt!

  4. Jack says:

    Interesting, so this is some kind add-on. can this be added onto normal solar panels that are currently available on the market?

  5. Greenboy says:

    I was under the impression that silicon was cheap.

  6. Cherie says:

    Learn to build a solar energy equipment

  7. The reality is that solar power that is commercially available still isn’t in the reach of the masses. Unless of course, you know how to make panels from scratch, and even from broken cells for example.

  8. Free Energy says:

    Probably the best hack in the solar panels for your home!

  9. alfredckc says:

    Hopefully this new technique will be available commercially soon. However anything on the lab table will normally take a few years before it become commercial products. While waiting for that, one may consider DIY Solar Panel at home; to kick off his home solar energy system at a lower cost. Consider reading up some good DIY guide on the market.

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