Skip to comments.Solar cells aiming for full spectrum efficiency
Posted on 12/08/2002 11:10:58 PM PST by Rain-maker
Solar cells aiming for full spectrum efficiency
10:15 08 December 02
Solar power is set for a boost with the help of a material that can soak up energy from almost all of the Sun's spectrum. It should allow solar cells to jump in efficiency from today's best of 30 percent to 50 percent or higher.
Solar cells use layers of semiconductors to absorb photons of sunlight and convert them into electric current. But each different semiconductor can only use photons at a specific energy - its "bandgap".
Today's best cells have layers of two different semiconductors stacked together to absorb light at different energies but they still only manage to use 30 per cent of the Sun's energy. Theorists have calculated which two bandgaps would give a maximum efficiency of 50 per cent, but until now they have not had the semiconductors to do the job.
This year it's a space heater for each kids bedroom and our fireplace insert for the living area. Our bedroom in the basement get's heated up for an hour before my wife goes to bed and then that space heater gets turned off. Now our 2 month electric bill is 150 bucks because we haven't turned on the heat at all yet this winter and we've made these other changes.
Next up is compact flourescent bulbs which I think can cut our usage by another 10%.
Anyone intersted in this solar stuff can check out a magazine called Homepower and they have a website as well that they put a few articles from every issue up for free reading.
They have some militant stuff where it concerns energy usage but for the most part its just great info. on altenative means of getting power for you home and cutting back on your energy usage to save money.
You may have found the key to the universe, but marketing is everything...rainmaker
You're welcome, but I didn't post it.
Solar cells are great for remote applications, but they're going to have to get the cost down for them to be practical for general consumer use.
Full spectrum solar cell(InGaN) breakthru with 50-70% efficency possible.
What is in the spectrum between 3.4 to 6.2 eV?
1eV = 1.6 x 10-19Joules
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