Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed

Date:
February 4, 2011
Source:
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Summary:
Scientists have produced silicon photovoltaic cells with a conversion efficiency of 20.5%, the highest level achieved in Spain using this material.

Pablo Ortega and Gema López, members of the UPC team responsible for developing the high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

The Micro- and Nanotechnology Research Group of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) has produced silicon photovoltaic cells with a conversion efficiency of 20.5%, the highest level achieved in Spain using this material. This figure is comparable to results obtained by leading research groups in the field at the international level.

The cells developed by the UPC researchers have surpassed the 15% barrier -- the average efficiency of the most common photovoltaic cells. Specifically, a conversion efficiency (of incident light to electric power) of 20.5% has been achieved, which means the energy produced per unit of area can be increased by one third.

For example, thanks to the high efficiency of this new cell type, only 4.8 m² of photovoltaic panels would be needed to meet one family's annual energy needs (an average of about 4 kWh per day). This compares to an area of 6.5 m² for traditional cells.

The cells are made of crystalline silicon and work in a simple way, much as conventional cells do. The light captured by the cells generates charges that are drawn off at the panel contacts and transformed into an electric current. "The goal is to generate a lot of charges that don't get lost -- that make it to the contacts," says Alcubilla, a member of the research group. Finally, after the light from the sun has been converted into electric current, it is fed into the power grid for domestic and industrial use.

The key to the success of the project was therefore to minimize losses, and by pursuing this approach the UPC researchers have managed to produce the most efficient silicon cells in Spain. "We've done a lot of work on the conception and development of new materials and structures, and on the technology needed to optimize the entire process and achieve high levels of efficiency," says Alcubilla. The next step is to develop procedures that facilitate large-scale production.

The result achieved in this research (which has involved 38 trials since 2002) is comparable to those obtained in other research projects carried out in countries that are taking the lead in the field of photovoltaic energy. The maximum efficiency obtained for cells of this type is 24.7%, a record set by an Australian group at the University of New South Wales.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. "High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204092155.htm>.
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. (2011, February 4). High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204092155.htm
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. "High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204092155.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wildfire Hits California's Angeles National Forest

Wildfire Hits California's Angeles National Forest

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 17, 2014) — A wildfire sweeps across the Angeles National Forest prompting campers to quickly leave as officials began evacuating the area -- local media. Gavino Garay reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins