Today in Cleantech

Despite a succession of bankruptcies in the global solar industry, researchers haven’t stopped plugging away with their attempts to build a more efficient solar cell. One group at the University of Cambridge is building PV cells that try to harvest a greater range of the sun’s spectrum than traditional silicon-based solar cells, and claims these hybrid cells can generate 25 percent more energy. And in a couple weeks a Berkeley lab will present its findings that show that building solar cells that emit light (reflect out photons) can actually produce greater efficiency in overall conversion from sunlight to electricity. Yes, it’s counterintuitive, but it has to do with the fact that a solar cell that is a good emitter of light also produces a high voltage. Bay area based Alta Devices is actually working on gallium arsenide cells that incorporates this research. Here’s to the next generation of solar! We could sure use it.