Solar panels are great, but they’ve got one huge problem. On average, they only catch about 15% of the sun’s rays and scientists are scrambling to find a way to increase that efficiency — using mirrors and even the shaping them like origami. Well, RoseStreet Labs might just have a solution – they’ve created a thin film solar panel that integrates three separate layers of PV cells into one panel. Each layer captures a different part of the sun’s spectrum bringing the total efficiency above 35%.
RoseStreet Labs Energy Inc. (RSLE) used their IBand technology to achieve this new development and are the first to do so — though others have been attempting to the same feat. The idea of integrating three bands — each band capturing a different part of the spectrum — has been around for a while but this is the first proven success. The triple banded thin film cells could push solar panels into the next realm, if coupled with mirroring or thermal technology they could really stretch the efficiency of solar energy much higher than their current low-percentage output.
“Although we are three to four years away from high volume production with the IBand product, this development opens up a new class of semiconductor devices for photovoltaic conversion and other advanced semiconductor applications,” said Bob Forcier, CEO of RSLE. The new solar cells were developed using high volume CVD technology, one of the industry standards, which validates the possibility that they could be commercialized. We bet the people over at Desertec are drooling over this invention as they’d need even less space in the Sahara to power the world with this much increased efficiency.