“Game-Changing” Solar Invention Announced


January 30, 2013 by

 

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8I have seen my share of outstanding solar innovations, such as concentrated  solar setups using tiny gallium arsenide cells that achieve an astounding 42%  efficiency. However, I’ve been eagerly waiting for an outstanding innovation  made from more abundant materials such as silicon.

I have seen my share of outstanding solar innovations, such as concentrated  solar setups using tiny gallium arsenide cells that achieve an astounding 42%  efficiency. However, I’ve been eagerly waiting for an outstanding innovation  made from more abundant materials such as silicon.

The main reason is that silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, so it  should remain cheap and available as long as needed.

Almost all of the silicon solar panels (aka solar modules) on the market are  between 10% and 20% efficient, so it is high time for a module that is both  constructed from abundant materials and is much more efficient.

President of Solar Bankers holding the  prototype.

The Dresden-based company Apollon GmbH & Co. KG and Solar Bankers LLC, which is based on Arizona, claim that  they have developed a new silicon-based solar panel with a holographic foil that  is twice as efficient as typical models, and that they are so cheap they can be  manufactured in Germany or the USA at a lower cost than factories in China  manufacture conventional solar panels.

They said that their solar modules  achieve 28% efficiency, which is considerably higher than the average 17%  efficiency on the solar module market. They have done so through advanced  Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic module development — in  particular, the use of light selection, deflection, and concentration. And  the companies expect an even better efficiency soon.

“Our solution addresses the major downsides that make today’s photovoltaic  (PV) technologies unprofitable. These disadvantages arise mainly from the  material silicon as well as from efficiency losses, which result e.g. through  heat occurring from concentration,” declares Jost.

This translates into much lower silicon  requirements to generate the same amount of power. The companies note: “Contrary  to today’s PV modules, this system only needs a fraction of the  semiconductor material while the performance per square meter of the module  surface is almost twice as high as conventional PV. The module is  based on a holographic optic, which is a strong contrast to  other concentrator photovoltaic modules using expensive flat lenses (e.g.  Fresnel lenses).”

Jost says: “The holographic element is printed on the cover glass and filters  the sunlight hitting the solar cell. The printing process allows an economical  duplication and simultaneously saves laser and development work, usually  necessary when using holographic elements.”

Here’s more info from a press release sent to CleanTechnica:

In contrast to other concentrator modules the distance between optic and  solar cell is only a few millimeters and filters only the desirable  wavelengths of the light. The sunlight is then concentrated on  the solar cells. “Thanks to this specific wavelength selection, we  avoid overheating issues usually generated by concentrated technologies  which are today the source of significant efficiency losses,” explains  Jost.

The new module continues to use silicon as the solar cell  material.  “With the holographic optic a 20- to 30-times  concentration of the desirable wavelengths of the light makes a silicon  needs reduction by over 90% compared to the amount of silicon used in  standard solar modules possible,” explains Jost. “The amount of  silicon used in our prototype can be measured in millimeters, reaching  barely 3% of the total module area. Since solar cells account for more than  half of module prices today, we achieve here considerable savings  with comparable or higher efficiency values being possible. The rest of  the module can optionally be left empty or be used as a kind of hybrid  solar module, for example using solar thermal technology. The  combination of both reduced raw material costs and higher efficiency levels  is the key to achieve favorable energy generation costs. With our  technology grid parity can finally be reached. Soon such  solar panels will become standard, affordable household products,” concludes Solar Bankers’ President Jost. The objective is to put in place a  300 MW production capacity in the USA or in Germany and create 500 jobs by  doing so.

If these companies’ claims are true, then  this could also lower the cost of installing solar panels on rooftops, as these  would be half the size of typical solar panels, so less labour would be required  for installation. This is also very  important because installation costs can account for about half of the cost of a  solar system.

Now, if someone would just start standardizing their rooftop solar panel  sizes and sell them with easy-to-use, pre-made mounting equipment, then we would  make some great progress!

Source: MEDIENKONTOR Notification Photo  Credits: Apollon GmbH & Co. KG / Solar Bankers LLC

Clean  Technica (http://s.tt/1zaDn)

 

Please leave us your comments and any suggestions. Thanks! Administrator at GNT

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s