One of the most exciting aspects of operating in the California solar energy industry is that there are constantly new developments in solar cell technology that promise to revolutionize the way we produce electrical power.
An interesting innovation was announced recently regarding dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), which are transparent, low cost and can convert more sunlight to electricity when it is cloudy outside. Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have created DSSCs that achieve efficiency rates of 15 percent, making them comparable to the silicon-based cells that are currently on the market.
Commercially manufactured solar cells, such as those in photovoltaic panels that AMECO Solar installs on our customer’s rooftops, typically have a power efficiency of 15 to 23 percent, meaning that approximately a fifth of the sunlight hitting the panel is converted into electricity.
DSSCs are somewhat transparent, giving them broader applications such as installing them on windows. They are also more durable, lighter and cost less to produce. While typical silicon solar cells need to be protected by a sheet of glass, this is not the case with DSSCs.
This technology is still in development, but it is thought that these cells will someday become ubiquitous in rooftop systems and lower the cost of going solar. In the meantime, solar consumers will continue to rely on photovoltaic solar cell technology to provide renewable energy to their homes and businesses.