An Australian National University researcher claims to have invented a technology that could cut the cost of producing solar panels by more than 60 percent. According to Professor Andrew Blakers, director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University system works by taking a standard solar cell about one millimeter thick and cutting it into tiny slices that are just 120 micrometers wide. "Imagine a standard solar cell is a loaf of bread. When you put it out in the sun it generates energy based on its surface area. Now imagine you cut that loaf up into slices and lay them horizontally. You get a lot more surface area," he said. According to him, the technique also allows researchers to use much smaller amounts of expensive silicon to generate the same amount of electricity.
"This can also keep manufacturing costs down, as all the processing steps normally carried out on solar cells are done while the slices are still in the "loaf". We're looking at major reductions in the total cost without the need for major scientific breakthroughs. It's about doing a good engineering job using known scientific principles, in contrast to some other technologies. The sliver technology is also efficient at converting sunlight to electricity," he said.
:: Via News in Science