New Solar Cell Increases Efficiency and Lowers Cost

Scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW, Sydney, Australia) developed a process to boost the efficiency of solar cell technology that also lowers the total cost. The UNSW researchers deposited a thin film of silver onto a solar cellÂ’s surface and then
heated it to 200 degrees Celsius. This broke the film into tiny “islands” of silver that boosted the cell’s light-trapping ability. The advance could see the price of an installed solar system for an average house fall from around $20,000 to $15,000 (Australian).

“Most thin-film solar cells are between eight and 10% efficient,” said Dr. Kylie Catchpole, a co-author of the study, “but the new technique could increase efficiency to between 13 and 15%.”

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