The Future of Solar Energy – Technological Advances and Innovations
Solar energy has a promising future, with numerous technological advancements and innovations poised to make it even more useful.
One of the most significant advancements is solar-to-fuel technology, which uses sunlight to produce hydrogen fuel for vehicles. Another popular innovation is solar-powered electric cars that utilize cells that directly convert electricity into power for their motors.
When it comes to producing electricity, silicon-based solar cells are the most popular type. Unfortunately, their complex manufacturing process and high energy consumption make them expensive;
Researchers are striving to develop new materials that could replace silicon, which would lower costs and boost efficiency. One potential substitute is perovskite crystals.
However, these cells have one major drawback: they degrade rapidly when exposed to light or heat. Furthermore, they are vulnerable to autocatalysis, a process which causes irreversible damage by degrading the entire structure.
Researchers have now devised a way to protect perovskite from these conditions. They added small amounts of ions — electrically charged atoms — into the material.
Solar Cells That Track the Sun
Solar cells that track the sun offer an opportunity to increase energy production and cut electricity costs. According to researchers at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, double-sided panels tilted according to sun position could boost solar energy collection by 35 per cent while cutting average costs by 16 percent.
Traditional fixed-panel solar systems often fail to capture all of the energy available from the Sun’s direct beam. On clear days, about 90% of its total energy is delivered in direct beam; on cloudy days however, diffuse sunlight makes up a larger share of total energy production.
The most basic sun tracking system utilizes a photo-sensor designed to redirect reflected solar radiation towards a collector. This energy is then absorbed by the photocell, producing an electric current. This output signal is fed into an electronic control system which in turn activates a motor in such a way as to rotate the collector so it remains pointed towards the sun.
Sunflare’s Lightweight Panels
Sunflare’s copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells are a revolutionary innovation for solar energy. CIGS technology increases efficiency by 10 percent, allowing more power to be captured from the sun.
CIGS solar cells offer several advantages over silicon solar cells, including superior corrosion resistance and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Furthermore, their manufacturing process uses a cell-to-cell method which conserves energy by producing less material waste.
These lightweight and flexible panels offer multiple mounting solutions, meaning they can stick to almost any surface with ease – no heavy equipment or special skills required!
They can even be tailored to fit into corners or follow curves, giving you the versatility to place them wherever desired.
They can be installed on various commercial roofing systems such as TPO or other flat roofs, standing seam and corrugated metal roofs without needing penetrations. Furthermore, being nearly 30 pounds lighter than traditional solar modules allows for placement in places other panels cannot go, providing new installation possibilities.
Silicon Solar Cells
Silicon is the most commonly used semiconductor material in solar cells, accounting for 95% of all solar modules sold today. It offers superior efficiency, low cost and long lifetimes.
Crystalline silicon solar cells are the most efficient type of cell, capable of lasting for 25 years or more and still producing over 80% of their original power after that period.
Researchers are striving to reduce the energy lost by silicon solar cells through anti-reflective coatings (ARC) and surface texturing techniques. This could result in higher light absorption rates and decreased conductive efficiency, potentially leading to improved cell performance overall.
To achieve this, a silicon wafer is etched to create micrometer-sized pyramidal structures on the surface of the silicon. A phosphorus-doped n+ layer is then added on top, followed by a boron-doped p-type layer and an aluminum electrode which forms a hole-selective contact with the phosphorus-doped region.