Timon Singh

Semprius' Stacked Solar Cells Could Make Solar Energy Cheaper Than Natural Gas

by , 08/08/14

Semprius, solar energy, solar power, solar panels, solar cells, photovoltaic cells, north carolina, high efficient solar power,

Two of the main obstacles to the widespread adoption of solar energy are cost and efficiency. However researchers at the Durham, North Carolina-based startup Semprius have found a way to tackle both these issues by simply stacking solar cells. The technique enables Semprius to produce solar panels with efficiencies as high as 50% (compared to the industry standard of 25%).

Semprius, solar energy, solar power, solar panels, solar cells, photovoltaic cells, north carolina, high efficient solar power,

Semprius makes its super efficient solar cells by stacking different semiconducting materials that collect different frequencies of light. The technique is inexpensive, it doesn’t require any radical redesign, and it can be done with pre-existing manufacturing techniques and equipment.

An article from Technology Review states that Semprius has achieved three key innovations: a cheap, fast way to stack cells, a proprietary way to electrically connect cells, and a new kind of glue which holds the cells together. In its current designs, Semprius uses tiny individual solar cells, that are just a millimeter across in order to aid cooling and increase efficiency.

Related: Multijunction Solar Cells Harves the Full Spectrum of Light

Semprius manufactures its semiconductor materials using conventional techniques, but it stacks several different layers to create solar panels that can captures more energy from sunlight. Semprius has made two prototypes: One with an efficiency of 43.9 percent and the other, using slightly different materials, with an efficiency of 44.1 percent. Eventually the company hopes to stack two multijunction devices (a total of five or six semiconductor layers) for a “very high performance, beyond 50 percent efficiency,” says Scott Burroughs, vice president of technology at Semprius. He says the company hopes to achieve this in three to five years.

Via Technology Review/Gizmodo

Images: Dave Dugdale and redplanet89

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2 Comments

  1. RoughDesigns September 25, 2014 at 11:41 am

    They have product available for demo projects, contact them.
    Be great if they could come up with portable demos for schools and groups – highlighting the synergistic enviornmental effects – less energy and pollution creating smaller chips, easier recycling of plastics and glass in concentrators. I bet their carbon foot print is less than half that of conventional PV arrays.
    While concentrating PV modules have been tried before, these folks are upping concentration much more, 1000:1 concentrator to and to a chip twice as efficent as before, so they might have a winner.

  2. drtom01 September 15, 2014 at 10:22 am

    The article does not day if they have product on the market now or when they will? Why not now since they are all ready better than solar cells on the market.

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