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Richard230
20 February 2011, 1846
According to a one-minute report on the local TV news a few minutes ago (which almost exceeded the talking-head's attention span and my short-term memory), a Stanford University researcher announced at an East Coast meeting today that they had found a way to triple the efficiency of normal solar panels. They say they have developed a nano-coating that can be installed over the panels to vastly increase its efficiency.

A 300% efficiency increase, by just by placing a micro-thin coating over the panels, seems almost too good to be true though. I hope it all pans out in the real world. I'll bet Stanford hopes so too. They no doubt stand to make a ton of money licensing this technology if it works as advertised.

chef
20 February 2011, 1935
If it's just a coating that means the underlying PV cell hasn't changed. Silicon PV cells have a characteristic of absorbing light from a relatively small band of light (say, red colors only). Multi-junction cells combine multiple frequency absorbing PVs onto one cell, increasing output but at a substantial price premium. A simple coating sounds like a phosphorescent layer that converts one frequency of light into another, preferably one that the silicon cell is most efficient at absorbing. It's not unlike the coatings used in LEDs or CF bulbs that convert the harsh blue light into a different frequency that's more pleasing to the eye. It'd be an inexpensive way to boost energy output. They might be able to get multi-junction performance at single-junction prices.

jazclrint
20 February 2011, 2314
That would be awesome! Take a 240w panel and make it a 720w just like that. Man I hope this doesn't turn out to be vaporware.

jazclrint
20 February 2011, 2325
Looks like that might be some old news:

http://www.solarthermalmagazine.com/2010/08/03/solar-thermal-and-pv-efficiency-breakthrough-stanford-solar-energy-researchers-make-big-claims/

Tony Coiro
21 February 2011, 0722
Yeah, chef, that's exactly how I bet they did it.

jazclrint
21 February 2011, 1019
You guys should read the article.