Energy from the sun is clean and inexhaustible, but current technology is inefficient. At the moment, solar energy cannot compete with fossil fuels on a cost basis. But work carried out at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown a way forward.
Researchers used a process called multiple exciton generation to produce 30% more energy per photon. The process reduces the heat lost in conventional semi-conductors and channels the energy into a greater output of electrical current.
“There may be a chance to dramatically increase the efficiency of a module, which could result in solar panels that are much cheaper than non-renewable energy sources,” said Joseph Luther, a senior scientist at NREL.
The findings are due to be presented at the forthcoming AVS 59th International Symposium and Exhibition in Tampa, Florida.