Author Topic: Major solar advance by Berkeley Natl. Labs.  (Read 1474 times)

Offline docmordrid

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Major solar advance by Berkeley Natl. Labs.
« on: 01/26/2011 10:05 PM »
Seems the Berkeley National Laboratory - Solar Energy Materials Research Group is closing in on a practical way to manufacture solar cells that convert a wide range of wavelengths into electricity, in this case from IR to UV, using existing fab tech.

This could make for a helluva gain in solar panel efficiency, with implications from roof top panels to satellite power and VASIMR.

Berkeley Labs announcement....
« Last Edit: 01/26/2011 10:19 PM by docmordrid »
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Offline spacealmond

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Re: Major solar advance by Berkeley Natl. Labs.
« Reply #1 on: 01/26/2011 11:09 PM »
That's pretty nice , that will do a lot to improve performance especially when it's overcast . It also seems like this is just the first step of many in the right direction .

Offline nooneofconsequence

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Re: Major solar advance by Berkeley Natl. Labs.
« Reply #2 on: 01/26/2011 11:17 PM »
Is significant for economic and geopolitical reasons too.

Having the impact of reduced footprint, high temperature low breakdown high reliability means much more valuable per square inch.

Nitrided semiconductors for certain reasons are a US dominated field, unlike TSMC's dominance of the cutting edge of cost per volume of traditional semi's.

The Chinese have a 80% market lock on traditional solar, so much so that lately solar startups like Solyndra haven't got a chance. It may be a transformational impact to US alternative energy markets.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline mlorrey

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Re: Major solar advance by Berkeley Natl. Labs.
« Reply #3 on: 01/27/2011 01:41 AM »
Seems the Berkeley National Laboratory - Solar Energy Materials Research Group is closing in on a practical way to manufacture solar cells that convert a wide range of wavelengths into electricity, in this case from IR to UV, using existing fab tech.

This could make for a helluva gain in solar panel efficiency, with implications from roof top panels to satellite power and VASIMR.

Berkeley Labs announcement....

Unfortunately, this article says absolutely nothing about exactly what the efficiency gain would be.

Space applications have been using multiband cells for a good 15 years or more, with Gallium Arsenide and Gallium Antimonide layers, reaching efficiencies of 30-34%, twice what is typical for consumer grade solar panels.
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Offline Lampyridae

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Re: Major solar advance by Berkeley Natl. Labs.
« Reply #4 on: 01/27/2011 12:16 PM »
A 30% efficiency with non-GaAs or other Rare Earth cells would be good for large-scale space power apps, as even at aerospace project prices these things don't come cheap. They are however very good for cells manufactured in situ for large colony-type applications as the elements seem easy to come by.
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Offline sanman

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Re: Major solar advance by Berkeley Natl. Labs.
« Reply #5 on: 02/01/2011 04:22 AM »
Here's another one from MIT's Tech Review:

http://www.techreview.com/energy/32234/?p1=MstRcnt

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