Solar Power Innovation: 10 Times Cheaper needs 10 Times less Sun

Posted on April 7, 2007  Comments (1)

Dr Wayne CampbellTaking nature’s cue for cheaper solar power (site broke link so I removed it):

Solar cell technology developed by the University’s Nanomaterials Research Centre will enable New Zealanders to generate electricity from sunlight at a 10th of the cost of current silicon-based photo-electric solar cells.

Dr Campbell says that unlike the silicon-based solar cells currently on the market, the 10x10cm green demonstration cells generate enough electricity to run a small fan in low-light conditions – making them ideal for cloudy climates. The dyes can also be incorporated into tinted windows that trap to generate electricity.

He says the green solar cells are more environmentally friendly than silicon-based cells as they are made from titanium dioxide – a plentiful, renewable and non-toxic white mineral obtained from New Zealand’s black sand. Titanium dioxide is already used in consumer products such as toothpaste, white paints and cosmetics.

“The refining of pure silicon, although a very abundant mineral, is energy-hungry and very expensive. And whereas silicon cells need direct sunlight to operate efficiently, these cells will work efficiently in low diffuse light conditions,” Dr Campbell says. “The expected cost is one 10th of the price of a silicon-based solar panel, making them more attractive and accessible to home-owners.” The Centre’s new director, Professor Ashton Partridge, says they now have the most efficient porphyrin dye in the world and aim to optimise and improve the cell construction and performance before developing the cells commercially.

Related: Solar power breakthrough at MasseyCheap, Super-efficient SolarLarge-Scale, Cheap Solar ElectricityMicro-Wind Turbines for Home Use

One Response to “Solar Power Innovation: 10 Times Cheaper needs 10 Times less Sun”

  1. CuriousCat: 2007 Solar Decathlon of Homes
    October 13th, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

    “The Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is a international competition in which 20 university-led teams compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house.//”

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