Brit Liggett

40% Cheaper Solar Cells Get $20 Million to Commercialize Product

by , 10/19/10

solar cell cost, solar panel cost, why are solar panels expensive, how to make a solar panel, cheaper solar cells, cheaper solar panels, efficient solar cells, increased efficiency for solar cells, how to increase solar efficiency, solar panel technology, advanced solar energy technology, solar power, solar energy

The race to solar superiority relies mostly on two things — cost and efficiency. Lately discoveries have been popping up left and right that will make solar energy cheaper and more efficient in the future, but the future doesn’t do us all that much good right now. Enter 1366 Technologies of Lexington, Massachusetts – they’ve pioneered a way to cut the cost of solar panels by 40% and have just received $20 million to go commercial. Now their cheaper solar panels are on their way to the energy market.

solar cell cost, solar panel cost, why are solar panels expensive, how to make a solar panel, cheaper solar cells, cheaper solar panels, efficient solar cells, increased efficiency for solar cells, how to increase solar efficiency, solar panel technology, advanced solar energy technology, solar power, solar energy

The method that 1366 Technologies created relies on one of our favorite things – conserving materials. Most solar panels are made by creating large sheets of silicon that are then sawed into silicon wafers (the most integral part of the panel). This method wastes about half of the silicon produced. 1366 Technologies creates their silicon wafers in ready-to-use slices by casting them at their optimal size, six inches across and 200 microns thick.

The final result is enhanced by a system of smaller wires that create less shadows helping to maximize the light gathering area. The silicon wafers are also punctured like a honeycomb so that when light smacks into the cells it bounces around and the absorption of energy is increased. The chairman of Hanwha, a Korean based solar company that invested in 1366′s technology, Ki-joon Hong, said that he and his company have, “every confidence that 1366’s innovations will fundamentally change solar manufacturing.”

>+ 1366 Technologies

Via The New York Times

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1 Comment

  1. kedwa30 December 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    This is good news. I just wanted to add that longevity is also a factor. Solar cells get less efficient over time and must be replaced or refurbished. To find the true cost of solar versus the true cost of other sources of electricity, we must look at the long term costs of both, including the underlying distribution costs. For example, nuclear power also has the cost of high voltage transmission lines and many boost or conversion stations whereas sunlight is already distributed and so solar panels mounted on the rooftops of suburban homes is locally sourced and used. When the maintenance of nuclear plants and the associated downtime is factored in, then nuclear is much more expensive and not nearly so reliable as solar. Much of the cost of refitting a nuclear plant is subsidized and so the cost of nuclear energy at the bill is competitive, but this is only hiding the true cost which is inevitably burdened to the taxpayer. Even the taxpayer hasn’t seen the true cost of nuclear since government is willing to go into debt more rather than raise taxes all the way to break even. The people in our government cannot be trusted not to take the opportunity to write into law new ways to funnel public funds to their cronies. Nuclear energy has been one major money laundering scheme in which subsidies were at first justified in the name of national defense, because we as a nuclear power needed the ability to make plutonium, but now subsidies continue only to further enrich cronies. An example is the cost of mining and processing uranium. Nuclear plants have stockpiles of used uranium that could be reprocessed and used again, but they don’t because the expense of this processing is not offset by subsidies while the mining still is. This choice to stockpile rather than reprocess is not made from natural economics of supply and demand. It costs money to store it and guard it. It would make more sense, if not for the subsidies, to use up every bit rather than stockpile dangerous amounts of it that can be dispersed in a disaster such as what happened in Fukashima.
    Solar doesn’t give many ways for career politicians to funnel money into the pockets of their cronies and so it is difficult for solar and other alternatives to compete with the subsidized oligarchies. Nevertheless, we as taxpayers can lower our future tax burden by investing in solar today. Using less energy from the grid will prevent the politicians from making the excuse that we need more nuclear and coal fired plants to keep up with demand. The construction of such plants are routinely subsidized by the taxpayer. We don’t have to react to the politicians’ problems by accepting their solutions. We can go our own way.

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