GREENWOOD VILLAGE, USA: Onyx Service & Solutions Inc. is applauding news released from the University of Texas at Austin stating that one of its chemists has discovered a way that may allow solar panel efficiency to be doubled, possibly reaching as high as 66 percent. Such a development is capable of causing a positive “sea-change” in the solar power industry.
At the heart of current solar panel functionality, the panel absorbs photons from the sun. Photons are then converted into electrons. An issue with regular photovoltaic panels is that much of the energy delivered by sunlight results in the conversion of “hot” electrons, which are too high-energy to be converted to electricity in silicon and are instead lost as heat. University of Texas Chemistry professor Xiaoyang Zhu and his team discovered that an organic plastic semiconductor could double the number of electrons harvested out of one photon of sunlight.
“At current, approximately 31 percent insolation-to-electricity efficiency of a silicon solar cell is considered to be the maximum in the solar industry,” stated ONYX President Malcolm Burleson. “Being able to cheaply double the efficiency and even being able to reach 66 percent efficiency could potentially erase the barriers of competing with cheap fossil fuels very quickly.”
Professor Zhu’s process involves absorbing the photon of sunlight in Pentacene (a form of plastic) to produce a dark quantum “shadow state” from which two electrons can be retrieved, instead of just one.
ONYX management is closely following this new development and the timing of when this new technology could be available in the marketplace. The company’s unique business model of concentrating on competing in energy markets that could yield higher margins and avoiding reliance on subsidies and government loans appears to have given ONYX an edge in the current shakeout.
“It is apparent that the solar companies with weaker business models will struggle, possibly lessening the field of competition for ONYX in the future,” said Burleson. “Having access to economical 66 percent efficiency panels after the industry shakeout could potentially be extremely lucrative for a Company positioned like ONYX.”
ONYX is currently developing the construction of multiple solar power projects in Honduras - one as large as 22 megawatts, as well as developing solar projects in Panama and solar product distribution arrangements in Peru and Columbia.