Solar Cells: 3 Promising Technologies on the Horizon

Boosting solar cells’ efficiency and making photovoltaic energy more cost-effective is the goal of many scientists around the world.

When their work yields technological breakthroughs, these often lead to huge growth in the solar industry. Today, three particularly exciting new developments are in the works.

Solar Cells That Emit More Light

Solar cells made of perovskite materials have an increased conversion efficiency, making them an ideal subject for photovoltaic research.

Scientists working with hybrid lead halide perovskites recently made an exciting discovery: They found that these materials actually can create their own light energy.

Traditional crystalline silicon cells work by absorbing light from the sun and converting it into an electrical charge. But a study from Cambridge University shows that hybrid lead halide perovskite cells may be able to do more. After creating an electrical charge, these cells can emit their own light.

Basically, they act as concentrators that recycle the sun’s energy, significantly increasing voltage production.

Solar Cells That Work in the Rain

Cloudy, rainy days usually result in reduced photovoltaic energy production. Consequently, climates without much sun are often considered unsuitable for solar power. Today, new dye-sensitized photovoltaic cells aim to change that.

Research through Ocean University of China found that it may be possible to harness energy from rain by using a highly conductive organic dye along with an electron-enriched carbon material called graphene. Dye-sensitized cells coated in a thin layer of graphene generate electricity from rain. The graphene binds its electrons with the positively charged ions in the water, creating energy.

Transparent Wood Solar Cells

Wood has strong mechanical properties. It’s durable and it offers low density and low thermal conductivity. Because of these factors, scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have been looking at ways to use wood in the photovoltaic industry.

The researchers found that a newly developed transparent wood may be a better material for photovoltaic cells. Transparent wood is created by chemically removing the lignin in the wood and then clearing the material further through nanoscale engineering. Since wood is a renewable, low-cost, readily available material, this discovery could change how new solar-ready buildings are designed.

More research and testing is needed to see if any of these interesting new technologies will pan out for large-scale manufacturing. Though none of these types of photovoltaic cells is currently available, scientific developments like these are certainly driving growth in the solar industry.

Here at Intermountain Wind & Solar, we look forward to new technologies and improvements in alternative energy systems design in the future. Today, we provide the effective and reliable technologies that save you money and help you establish energy independence. Contact us for more information about adding solar cells at your home or business.

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