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Good News About European Solar Energy

In a tough summer for Europe that brought record-high energy prices and heatwaves. Solar power has provided some much-needed relief. And a Dutch company has just discovered how to make solar panels 36 percent more effective.

Sun shining on a field of sunflowers

RenewEconomy's analysis reveals that record levels of solar power across the European Union (EU) this summer avoided the need for 20bn cubic meters of gas, which would have cost €29bn ($28bn) to import. The success of solar could help shine a pathway out of the energy and climate insecurity that the EU is facing. Solar power has delivered record-high generation across the summer of 2022, helping keep the lights on and reducing the EU’s now critical gas consumption.

Solar power generation increased by 28 percent in May-August 2022, compared with the same period last year. During the peak summer months, solar power provided a record 12 percent of all the EU’s electricity.

Even as governments across the world are promoting solar energy in their bid to reduce carbon emissions, the adoption of the technology has been limited by its energy conversion efficiency. Most commercially available solar panels top out at 22 percent energy conversion efficiency. Improving this rather disappointing percentage is the focus of numerous scientists around the world.

If this could be improved, it would mean that more power can be generated in the same patch of land at a lower cost per unit, increasing energy availability while reducing the end cost to customers, making it a win-win proposition. Well, the good news is that a Dutch firm has just achieved 30 percent! That's a whopping 36 percent more conversion efficiency.

To do so, researchers in the Netherlands came together to create a four-terminal perovskite/silicon tandem device, reports Interesting Engineering. A tandem device can better use solar spectrum since it uses a mix of silicon-based solar cells with perovskite-based solar cells. While the former works well with light in the visible and infrared spectrum, perovskites can use wavelength in the ultraviolet and visible light while being transparent to infrared light.



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