Quantasol custom tunes solar cells for specific locations
Jul 03, 2009 14:04
Highly efficient solar cells are tailored to suit their location.
UK-based Quantasol has achieved a world record for the most efficient gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar cells that until now were only used in space-based applications. The solar cells developed by the company can be tuned to suit the location they are to be installed in, which increases their efficiency, as they’re made suitable to harness various sunlight conditions found in different areas of the globe. The specifically designed solar cells have broken a 21-year-old efficiency record for one type of solar cells.
The company added indium gallium arsenide to pores just a few nanometers across on the surface of the cells. This addition makes them work at specific light frequencies that are most common in a particular place, but aren’t usually absorbed by GaAs alone.
The technology was tested at the Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy, which has confirmed that the new solar cells have an efficiency of 28.3% when exposed to light 500 times as strong as normal sunlight. Before making the cells available on the market, the company wants to pull down the cost of the cells, as GaAs cells cost more than silicon solar cells, which are less efficient but cost less as well.
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