SANTA BARBARA, USA: Solar3D Inc. spotlighted a report published by Research and Markets which forecasts the dramatic shift in the solar industry’s next generation to high efficiency solar cells. Solar3D’s 3-dimensional solar cell is forecast to be the highest efficiency among currently anticipated next generation silicon solar cells.
Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D, commented: “There is a greater emphasis worldwide on rooftop applications, as well as other limited footprint uses of the solar cell. Due to a reduction in government subsidies, users of solar energy are desperate to find a product that will be able to deliver higher efficiency, in a smaller space, for less money. That has been the singular focus of our work over the past 2 years. And we are on the verge of doing just that as we finalize our prototype.”
Solar3D announced its findings that its design is expected to result in a solar cell that will deliver 25+% efficiency—highest among all existing designs in silicon. However, efficiency is only part of the equation.
Nelson continued: “Manufacturers measure the efficiency of their solar cells under optimum conditions—with sunlight shining directly onto the cell from the best angle. But these measurements do not represent real world conditions, because light collection drops off markedly as the sun delivers light from more extreme angles during different times of the day. The real deliverable is not efficiency but the total power generated by the solar cell throughout the day or throughout the year. Our wide angle collection feature makes simple comparison of solar cells based on efficiency inaccurate and obsolete.”
The company’s analysis indicates that a typical 17 percent efficient solar cell performs more like a 5 percent efficient cell when light is shining 20 degrees from the side, such as during the morning and evening hours. Even high efficiency cells like Sunpower’s IBD only behave like traditional cells in their light collection techniques. Solar3D’s analysis shows that the 3D cell can maintain its high efficiency for a longer period of time and can generate as much as double the power output of conventional solar cells.
Solar3D is currently constructing a prototype of its 3-dimensional solar cell using silicon. “It is our fundamental belief that low cost silicon is the best material for solar cells and 3D is the best way to get more performance out of silicon,” Nelson concluded.