It is no secret that renewable energy, in particular solar energy, is an industry on the rise and the focus of the future. Solar energy is a field that is constantly being explored and improved upon. Scientists have now come up with what they say is a solar cell that is four times more efficient and three times cheaper than current solar cell models.
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the company Technique Solar have teamed up to create this new module. The module consists of nine troughs that feature a concentrating acrylic lens and reflective walls to concentrate the sunlight energy onto a strip of PV cells. This design enables the solar cell to function with 75% less PV cells than the current modules have. The PV cells themselves generate electricity, but the solar module still has other ways of squeezing every bit of energy out of the sunlight. There is a heat exchanger under the PV cells that is used to generate heat for circulating water and storage tanks for a hot water system. The module even has a motor drive mechanism, which moves the module with the sun to insure maximum sunlight and efficiency.
The module by the numbers can produce way more than the current solar cells on the market. A 3.5 square meter module can produce the same amount of power as a 12-14 square meter module of the current standard PV panel. It is the combination of heat and electrical power that enables the new module to boast an efficiency of over 50% compared to the standard solar panel that has only an 18% efficiency.
The problems with solar power seem to lie within the efficiency and the cost effectiveness of the product. With the efficiency of solar panels growing by 30%, the cost effectiveness should be much higher and this very module could lead the way to the solar energy world to really take off.
Find out more about this module at Technique Solar.