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Greater Efficiency for Solar Panels

solar

One thing a solar panel shouldn’t do is reflect the sun — for every photon that bounces off is one less electron of electricity the panel will create.

How to make that panel less shiny? Researchers at the Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory have come up with a solution: peppering a cell with trillions of tiny holes.

The technique dubbed “dark solar” has been licensed to Red Bank, N.J.-based Natcore Technology Inc., which is combining it with its own low-cost solar-cell-manufacturing process.

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“It’s a perfect coupling of technologies,” said Natcore CEO Chuck Provini.

American solar-panel makers have been under pressure as prices dropped more than 50 percent in the past five years because of a flood of inexpensive Chinese solar panels.

The question is whether American manufacturers can come up with a technological counterpunch, Provini said.

A flat silicon surface without any treatment will reflect 35 percent of the sunlight that hits it, said Hao-Chih Yuan, an NREL researcher.

That’s why solar manufacturers coat the panels using an expensive and toxic gas-deposition system.

Even with that, about 7 percent of the light still bounces off a poly-silicon cell.

Read more: NREL pursues greater efficiency for solar panels – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23317867/nrel-pursues-greater-efficiency-solar-panels#ixzz2UJz0v8Do

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