Solar is now the 'cheapest electricity in history', says the International Energy Agency. The extra good news is that this will further accelerate the end of coal. But what if the efficiency of solar panels were doubled? That would really light up the market...
Over the years, research innovation has been gradually and consistently reducing the costs of new equipment, increasing efficiently levels, and making photovoltaic panels more durable. Recently, a new upgrade developed by scientists at England's York University has increased the ability of solar panels to absorb light by a stunning 125 percent.
This would be a quantum leap for the technology as it holds the tantalising promise of harvesting ten times more energy for the same relative cost.
The team achieved this feat by utilizing a checkerboard design for their panel face, instead of the traditional flat panel surface. The new design reportedly increased the diffraction rate, which measures the probability of light being absorbed. Furthermore, the team’s innovative pattern also led them to believe that lighter, thinner, and more flexible solar panels could be a natural result.
“In principle, we could deploy ten times more solar power for the same amount of absorber material: ten times thinner solar cells could enable a rapid expansion of photovoltaics, increase solar electricity production, and greatly reduce our carbon footprint,” Dr. Christian Schuster wrote in the team’s research paper, published in the Journal Optica.