Solar energy is a well established form of renewable energy. However with the present solar cells being rather thick, the cost of solar energy systems prove to be rather expensive for anyone to invest in, and use.
This is why researchers and experts inDurham University are busy developing thin layer solar cells.
These experts are trying to develop light absorbing materials that can be used for the production of thin layered, solar photovoltaic cells. These cells are used to convert the light energy from the sun into electricity.
This is basically a four year project where numerous experiments have been tried out on different materials to find out the material that is less expensive, but sustainable enough to use in the manufacture of solar panels. Today, the thicker and silicon based cells and compounds with the rare and expensive metal indium, are used to create solar panels.
So in a bid to find cheaper and more efficient materials for efficient energy production, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council(EPSRC) has funded this research. The research now consists of the development cheaper and more sustainable variants of thin-layer PV cells with the help of materials like cadmium telluride and indium diselenide.
In addition to this, the team is also working on means of manipulating the growth of these materials so that they form a continuous structure that helps in the conduction of energy that is trapped by solar panels before being used for electricity.
With this, it is expected to find an improved efficiency in the functioning of the thin layer PV cells.
The research team hopes that with the development of cheaper thin film PV cells, the cost of solar panels for the domestic market gets reduced while the usage of solar power increases. Today, only one hundredth of one percent of UK’s home energy is provided by solar energy.
With thin layer PV cells used for making solar panels that fit on roofs, homes that have surplus electricity being fed back to the National grid are powered with the necessary power. This leads to cheaper fuel bills and dependence on fossil fuels.
The main reason for this research is to find materials for generating solar energy so that solar energy is made more affordable to the common man. People will definitely buy a system that could be bought off the shelf, and provide even a fraction of their energy needs, if it was economical enough.
When considering the cost effectiveness of the system, you have to consider how many pounds have to be spent for getting a watt of power. So with cheap solar panels, you are sure to get a winning product that many people will want to buy.
And with the nano-scale resolution microscopes that have been funded for the study by the Science Research Investment Fund, it is possible for scientists to find out what limits the performance of solar cells.
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