Image © Mike Baker
North Carolina State University researchers have developed a new way of connecting stacked solar cells that is strong enough to handle the energy of 70,000 suns. The innovation will help prevent voltage losses at the connecting junctions, which will make solar cells more efficient while lowering the cost of solar energy production.
Stacked solar cells are already the most efficient cells on the market, with a 45 percent conversion rate of solar energy into electricity, and this new connection should improve upon that efficiency by reducing energy waste at connecting junctions. The new connection will allow the solar cells to handle up to 70,000 suns worth of energy.
The researchers discovered that by inserting a thin film of gallium arsenide into the connecting junction of stacked cells, they can dramatically reduce voltage loss.
“This should reduce overall costs for the energy industry because, rather than creating large, expensive solar cells, you can use much smaller cells that produce just as much electricity by absorbing intensified solar energy from concentrating lenses. And concentrating lenses are relatively inexpensive,” said Dr. Salah Bedair, a professor of electrical engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work.