Sunday, 22 July 2012

Anti-aging elixir for solar cells
3 Jul 2012

Photovoltaic modules deliver power without risks to the environment and climate. But solar power is expensive. Therefore, it is imperative that the modules last as long as possible, 25 years or more. Fraunhofer researchers in the USA are now investigating materials to protect solar cells from environmental influences to meet that goal.

Sometimes it's just a couple of¢ that decide the success or failure of a technology. As long as solar power, for instance, is still more expensive than energy extracted from fossil fuels, photovoltaics will not be competitive on the broad open market. "Power generation from solar power continues to be reliant on public subsidies-this is no different in the USA than in Germany", explains Christian Hoepfner, Scientific Director of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. "If we want renewable energy to penetrate the global market over the long term, then we must ensure it gets cheaper".

There are no silver bullets to reach this target: Efficiency cannot be arbitrarily increased, and it is expensive to produce solar cells and modules. If you want to change something here, you have to solve a puzzle with many variables: Engineering teams around the world are searching for new technologies and production methods to make cells and modules cheaper, more efficient, more durable and reliable.

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