Solar Cell with High Efficiency and Lower Production Costs

Date: 18 October 2011
A novel solar cell based on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 was developed in the Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics (Empa, Switzerland).

This device has an efficiency of almost 19%; furthermore, it can be produced at a lower cost than other solar cells, as it uses a flexible polymer film (polyimide) as a substrate.

Solar Cells: the Principle

Solar cells are devices that convert the light from the sun directly into electricity; they are also called photovoltaics (PVs). The conversion from light into electricity is known as the photoelectric effect; the materials capable of performing this typically are semiconductors. In fact, it is the bandgap present in the semiconductor which absorbs the light and, consequently, generates electric charges. These charges can be collected to deliver energy in the form of electricity.

PVs can be employed to produce energy from the sun, but more development is needed to produce the maximum possible energy from this renewable source at a price competitive to other sources of energy.

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600450 Solar Cell with High Efficiency and Lower Production Costs
Date: 18 October 2011

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