Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125%, a new study says — ScienceDaily

Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125 per cent, a new study says.

Researchers say the breakthrough could lead to the production of thinner, lighter and more flexible solar panels that could be used to power more homes and be used in a wider range of products.

The study — led by researchers from the University of York and conducted in partnership with NOVA University of Lisbon (CENIMAT-i3N) — investigated how different surface designs impacted on the absorption of sunlight in solar cells, which put together form solar panels.

Scientists found that the checkerboard design improved diffraction, which enhanced the probability of light being absorbed which is then used to create electricity.

The renewable energy sector is constantly looking for new ways to boost the light absorption of solar cells in lightweight materials that can be used in products from roof tiles to

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Team extracts more energy from sunlight with advanced solar panels — ScienceDaily

Researchers working to maximize solar panel efficiency said layering advanced materials atop traditional silicon is a promising path to eke more energy out of sunlight. A new study shows that by using a precisely controlled fabrication process, researchers can produce multilayered solar panels with the potential to be 1.5 times more efficient than traditional silicon panels.

The results of the study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign engineer Minjoo Larry Lee are published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Sciences.

“Silicon solar panels are prevalent because they are affordable and can convert a little over 20% of the sun’s light into usable electricity,” said Lee, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Lab affiliate. “However, just like silicon computer chips, silicon solar cells are reaching the limit of their abilities, so finding a way to increase efficiency is attractive to energy providers and consumers.”

Lee’s

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Untapped potential exists for blending hydropower, floating solar panels — ScienceDaily

Hybrid systems of floating solar panels and hydropower plants may hold the technical potential to produce a significant portion of the electricity generated annually across the globe, according to an analysis by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The researchers estimate that adding floating solar panels to bodies of water that are already home to hydropower stations could produce as much as 7.6 terawatts of potential power a year from the solar PV systems alone, or about 10,600 terawatt-hours of potential annual generation. Those figures do not include the amount generated from hydropower.

For comparison, global final electricity consumption was just over 22,300 terawatt-hours in 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the International Energy Agency.

“This is really optimistic,” said Nathan Lee, a researcher with NREL’s Integrated Decision Support group and lead author of a new paper published

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