Friday, November 18, 2005

Disposable Solar Panel Now A Reality

A while ago, I posted Cheap Solar Power On The Way.

This article on disposable solar panels provides a nice follow-up.

From the article:

The voltage and power output of the solar cell is determined by the size of the poster. An A2-sized poster will deliver up to 100W of power, enough to charge a cellphone, power a radio or provide five hours of lighting, said Prof David Britton, a physicist specialising in nanotechnology.

“Many families cannot afford R1000 for a solar panel designed to last 30 years, but they can afford R10 every three to six months for a ‘disposable’ panel,” he said.

Shops could stock rolls of solar panel posters, and cut it to meet a customer’s needs. The poster could be mounted behind a window or attached to a cabinet.

Britton’s team has built a successful prototype and is seeking to commercialise the project.


[update]

While we're at it, have a look at this potential Energy Breakthrough.
A team of researchers at the university’s nanotechnology center have almost doubled the efficiency rate of converting solar energy to electricity, and have plans to triple it by October 2006, in collaboration with colleagues from New Mexico State University.

The team, which aims to develop flexible solar cells, hopes that solar cell technology will be implemented into military defense contracts and into the consumer market within a year.

...

The idea is to “extract energy from the sun so that we don’t have to use fossil fuels,” said David Carroll, director of the university’s center for nanotechnology and molecular materials.

The cells currently convert about 6 percent of the sun’s solar energy into electricity, but the team hopes the cells will generate the predicted maximum of 12 percent in less than a year.

Using plastic instead of the traditional, heavier silicon, the new solar panels are more flexible and lightweight. Carroll said he hopes that those properties will propel the cells beyond the academic world into commercial use.

Going from 6% to 12% ain't bad. However, solar panels with an efficiency of almost 40% already exist. I read about those a good while ago, but cannot find the link anymore.

If anybody of you faithful blogreaders have it... please let me know.

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2 comments:

veg said...

"Spectrolab, a subsidiary of Boeing based in California, US, has created a photovoltaic cell capable of converting 36 per cent of the Sun's rays into electricity."

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4033

Could these be the photovoltaic cells that you were thinking of?

veg

Jan-Willem Bats said...

Possibly.

Thanks for the link. :)