Worlds first 3D solar cell is surprisingly efficient

3D photovoltaic

Scanning electron microscope image of initial prototype of light trapping 3D photovoltaic structures on a thin silicon wafer.

Solar3D, Inc., the developer of a breakthrough 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, today announced the successful fabrication and operation of a working 3-dimensional silicon solar cell that produces at least 250% of the power of a basic silicon solar cell.

Dr. Changwan Son, Solar3D’s Director of Technology, commented, “When measured relative to a conventional solar cell design, our working prototype produces electricity beyond our previous expectations. First, we fabricated our working prototype. Then we created a simple cell based on the conventional design, using the same fabrication environment, to serve as a control sample. By measuring the side-by-side power output of both cells, we were able to determine the relative performance under a number of conditions, ranging from bright sunlight to lower, diffuse light. In each test, our 3D Solar Cell consistently outperformed the control cell and produced at least 2½ times the amount of electricity under the same conditions.”

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First ever completely carbon solar cell captures infrared light

About 40 percent of the solar energy reaching Earth’s surface lies in the near-infrared region of the spectrum — energy that conventional silicon-based solar cells are unable to harness. But a new kind of all-carbon solar cell developed by MIT researchers could tap into that unused energy, opening up the possibility of combination solar cells — incorporating both traditional silicon-based cells and the new all-carbon cells — that could make use of almost the entire range of sunlight’s energy.

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Solar energy to be beamed to Earth from space

Solar cellsSolar power gathered in space could be set to provide the renewable energy of the future thanks to innovative research being carried out by engineers at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Researchers at the University have already tested equipment in space that would provide a platform for solar panels to collect the energy and allow it to be transferred back to earth through microwaves or lasers.

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Shining solar cell design sets new efficiency record

high-efficiency Alta Devices solar cell

High-efficiency Alta Devices solar cell

To produce the maximum amount of energy, solar cells are designed to absorb as much light from the Sun as possible. Now researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have suggested – and demonstrated – a counterintuitive concept: solar cells should be designed to be more like LEDs, able to emit light as well as absorb it. The Berkeley team will present its findings at the Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO: 2012), to be held May 6-11 in San Jose, Calif.

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The next best thing for solar cells: carbon nanotubes

Carbon in its wide range of shapes and variations seems to be the new material to work with no matter what sector you’re in. Especially the possibilities of carbon in its numerous nano forms seem limitless. While yesterday it was … Continue reading

Improved solar cells and electronics thanks to copper nanowires

As much as we would like it, solar energy still isn’t competitive with fossil fuels, mostly because one of the main materials used in their production is the incredibly expensive metal indium. But that might change in the near future … Continue reading

Solar power industry responsible for large lead emissions

The fact that the use of fossil fuels can be harmful for the environment is well known. Previous research even showed that coal-fired power plants are responsible for heavy metal emissions like mercury and we all know that the lead … Continue reading

Hydrogen fuel produced from sunlight and safely stored

Hydrogen has long been commended as a clean and efficient alternative to gasoline, but so far it hasn’t really been able to live up to expectations. Mostly because it has to be derived from non-renewable sources like coal and natural … Continue reading

A new hope for hydrogen energy: nanoparticle driven and solar powered

Hydrogen would be an excellent clean energy source, were it not for the fact that it costs a tremendous amount of energy to produce and is thus quite expensive. Researchers have been looking for ways to cheaply and sustainably produce … Continue reading