Coating Solar Cells to Boost their Lifespan

solar cells
One critical consideration that has largely gone unnoticed amidst the recent wave of innovation in solar cell technology has been a focus on durability - and finding ways to increase cells' lifespan. Most polymer, or thin film, solar cells currently have a lifespan of about 25-30 years; over time, their ability to convert sunlight into electricity is degraded by UV light.

A team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, led by materials scientist Yang Yang, has developed a "photon conversion material," a special coating, that turns UV photons into visible light ones - which have longer wavelengths. As Justin Mullins reports in New Scientist, the coating, when applied to the cells, not only boosts the cells' energy conversion efficiency; it also increases their longevity by sharply reducing the damage caused to the cells. The researchers believe the coating could well add a few more years to the cells' lifespan.In their initial runs, Yang and his colleagues used polymer blue polyfluorene to extend the cells' longevity; they noted, however, that a range of materials - liquids, gels, solids or nanoparticles - would do the trick. Materials engineering boffos can read over the full patent application here.

Image courtesy of Clearly Ambiguous via flickr

Via ::Ecotality Life: New Photon Coating To Add Years To Solar Cell Lifespan (blog)

See also: ::Hairy Solar Panels Could Result From Nanowire Breakthrough, ::Solar Cell Innovation: Silicon Nanoparticles Improve Performance

Coating Solar Cells to Boost their Lifespan
One critical consideration that has largely gone unnoticed amidst the recent wave of innovation in solar cell technology has been a focus on durability - and finding ways to increase cells' lifespan. Most polymer, or thin film, solar cells currently have