image via Oregon State University
Inkjet technology has allowed millions of people have the ability to print documents at home and even set up home offices. This technology may now even be used to create cheap solar energy cells.Engineers at the Oregon State University (OSU) have found a way to create successful CIGS - chalcopyrite - solar devices with inkjet technology which will reduce raw material by 90 percent by creating precise patterning on the substrates and lower cost of solar cell production. The cells should be high performing, ultra-low cost, rapidly produced and extremely thin.
According to the study, CIGS has extraordinary solar efficiency - a layer of chalcopyrite one or two microns thick has the ability to capture the energy from photons about as efficiently as a 50-micron-thick layer made with silicon. Current power conversion of a CIGS panel is about five percent, with potential to increase to 12 percent in the future. There's even potential for future solar cells to be built directly into roofing materials with the inkjet technology.
While this technology is still in testing phase, it is a positive step in creating affordable renewable energy for home owners. Not only will the cells be much cheaper, but because it uses less materials and hazardous materials, will also be much more environmentally friendly than traditional panels.
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