Solar panels better use.
Photovoltaic solar panels directly convert light energy (photons) into electricity. Currently, the efficiency of these panels is still considered very low. The average round in the top 18% and 24% reach. This means that in an ideal situation, only this percentage of light that actually hits the panel is converted into electricity.
Photovoltaic solar panels can be seen in several respects similar to computer chips, mainly because it also made using silicon semiconductor materials. While progress is being made with numerous technologies and much of Silicon Valley innovators are focused on studying how to improve and reduce manufacturing cost, they remain unaffordable for mass consumption now. An installation for a standard American house is around $ 50,000.
The solar industry is in a developmental stage equivalent to the computer stage, when there were many mainframes and IBM had not yet appeared and Steve Jobs with personal computers. The famous Moore’s Law states that approximately every 18 months doubles the number of transistors on an integrated circuit. This law makes our new computers and cell phones are almost obsolete when you buy two months has been meeting almost every year since Intel’s Gordon Moore said in 1965.
Although the digital divide is huge, we can say that was fulfilled in astonishing ways the concept that Bill Gates dreamed of for years: one computer per household. No doubt if Moore’s Law also applies to the technologies related to the environment coming years with amazing innovations.
A few weeks ago, a team of researchers from California Institute of Technology, Caltech, led by Harry Atwater, created a highly absorbent flexible solar cells based on silicon wire arrays.
Using long wires and ultra-thin silicon embedded in a polymer substrate, a team of Caltech scientists created a new type of flexible solar cell that promotes the absorption of sunlight. Becomes much more efficient use of their photons into electrons and achieved using only a fraction of the expensive semiconductor material required for conventional solar cells.
The silicon wire arrays absorb up to 96% of the sunlight incident on a single wavelength and 85% of full sunlight. Technically, the wires have an almost perfect internal quantum efficiency. Materials such as black paint has a huge extent of absorption but does not perform any conversion of energy. The silicon wire arrays on the other hand have very high levels of both absorption and conversion. The secret of success in these cells are these nano-wires independently represent a highly efficient solar cell. But when also join in large numbers are even more effective because they interact to increase the absorption of light. When light hits each wire, part is absorbed and part is scattered. The collective sum of dispersions between the wires gives rise to a cell highly absorbent. Each wire is 30 to 100 microns (10 ^ -6 meters) long and 1 micron in diameter. The total thickness of the matrix measures only the thickness of two wires, but in terms of area or volume, only 2 percent is made of silicon and the remaining 98 percent of polymer.
The advantages are obvious, since by requiring only 2 percent of silicon is achieved a cost reduction. In turn, the remaining percentage of polymer gives total flexibility which enables the panels to place them on different surfaces.
While key will make huge advances in energy storage to take advantage of renewable energy at all times and not just when the sun shines or the wind blows like this progress ever faster decrease our current dependence on polluting energy sources that dominate energy matrices of almost all countries.
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