Researchers working to maximize solar panel efficiency said layering advanced materials atop traditional silicon is a promising path to eke more energy out of sunlight. A new study shows that by using a precisely controlled fabrication process, researchers can produce multilayered solar panels with the potential to be 1.5 times more efficient than traditional silicon panels.
The results of the study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign engineer Minjoo Larry Lee are published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Sciences.
“Silicon solar panels are prevalent because they are affordable and can convert a little over 20% of the sun’s light into usable electricity,” said Lee, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Lab affiliate. “However, just like silicon computer chips, silicon solar cells are reaching the limit of their abilities, so finding a way to increase efficiency is attractive to energy providers and consumers.”