Thin, flexible, and just as efficient. Solar cells take a big step forward.
The short version:
- A group of scientists has built a thin-film solar cell that has the same energy efficiency of traditional silicon solar cells.
- The cells are also flexible and colorable, making them very attractive for integration into facades of homes or other buildings.
- The cells use two layers of different materials that reinforce each other.
- Because the panels are so thin, it takes less material to make them. This will bring the cost down to well below traditional cells.
- Bart Vermang, a coordinator within the PERCISTAND consortium, says they have not yet reached the upper limit of the technology. They hope to reach 30% efficiency within 3 years.
- Vermang hopes to see these cells on the consumer market within 8 years.
Here’s the deal…in this day and age 8 years seems like forever. But some technology still takes time to develop. My guess is that we will see a major advance in thin solar cell tech much before that. Perhaps it will be this project that gets a boost in development, perhaps it will be a different project altogether, but it isn’t going to take 8 years for us to get thin, flexible, efficient solar cells. Either way, it will be projects like this that move the industry forward.