What a difference 34 years can make. When the Carter Administration installed solar panels at the White House back in 1979, photovoltaic cells were space age technology that most households could not afford, aside from the rare DIY-er. Now the price of solar power has been sinking like a stone, thanks partly to the introduction of low cost materials and inexpensive thin film fabrication methods.
Switzerland’s Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, has just come out with a low cost thin film solar cell breakthrough that demonstrates both in the form of a new high efficiency copper-doped cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cell.
The new Empa solar cell boasts an efficiency of 11.5 percent, which might not sound like a big deal compared to last year’s announcement of a 44 percent efficiency mark by the company Solar Junction, but we’re talking about two distinctive technologies. The key takeaway is that today there are multiple paths to affordable solar cells. One of them is finding the most efficient way to collect and convert solar energy, another is finding the cheapest way to do it, and a third way is to find a balance between the two.
Click headline to read more--
Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc