May 4, 2009

Concentrated slivers promise cheap solar power

Combine solar concentrators with solar cells made from slivers of silicon and you've got a potentially inexpensive source of solar electricity.

Sliver solar cells, developed in 2000, use thin strips of crystalline silicon instead of entire wafers. A sliver cell with a nine-times concentrator converts 18.8 percent of the light to electricity. A sliver cell with a 37-times concentrator converts 18.4 percent of the light to electricity.

Solar concentrators typically concentrate sunlight hundreds of times onto very efficient solar cells. High-intensity solar concentrators with high-efficiency solar cells are expensive but produce lots of power. Using sliver cells with low- and medium-intensity concentrators is less expensive and is a potential route to lower-cost solar energy.

Research paper:
Sliver solar cells for concentrator PV systems with concentration ratio below 50
Progress in Photovoltaics, published online April 28, 2009

Researchers' contact:
Sliver Solar Cells

Further info:
Sliver Solar Cells -- background

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