Skip to main content

It's the custom here at DKos to announce "breakthroughs" in renewable energy. These typically range from violations of thermodynamics to nice ideas that are unlikely to be practical in the foreseeable future. This one, however, is for real.

John Rogers'  group here at the University of Illinois has figured out a practical new way to stack cells with different wavelength sensitivities to use the full solar spectrum rather than the narrow slice possible with a single junction. (news story,article)The idea of multiple junctions is old but the technique of making them is altogether new. It's combined with another idea already in use- inexpensive focussing using molded lenses. That allows the relatively expensive multi-junction material to cover only a fraction of the surface area.

The actual module efficiency efficiency exceeds 35%. At more than twice the efficiency of currently installed solar panels, and with anticipated reasonable fabrication costs, this should really open up the path to solar use. The authors emphasize the usefulness of ultra-high-efficiency panels for utility-scale projects, but they should also be very good for distributed small set-ups, in which available light can be patchy and the cost of installing each panel can be larger than the cost of the panel.

update: Thanks to Visceral for the reminder that I should have pointed out that these focussed systems only work with direct sunlight, not the diffuse light on a cloudy day. They do require a tracking set-up. That still leaves many applications in the broad regions where most days are clear. If the costs gradually come down on the multi-junction material, following typical electronics cost-vs-time curves, it should be possible at some point to skip the focussing and use them in diffuse light too.

Originally posted to docmidwest on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 01:38 PM PDT.

Also republished by Gulf Watchers Group.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Mary, GainesT1958, Thumb, MichaelPH, Angie in WA State, Sylv, Ducktape, Yosef 52, PrahaPartizan, Radiowalla, Odysseus, melo, roonie, Liberal Thinking, Gooserock, Powered Grace, PeterHug, RunawayRose, Shockwave, wu ming, Wintermute, UTLiberal, hyperstation, Jay C, mslat27, eeff, Bryce in Seattle, expatjourno, TracieLynn, cskendrick, kalihikane, Wee Mama, whenwego, CoolOnion, Pithy Cherub, farmerhunt, roses, pollwatcher, kharma, emmasnacker, kj in missouri, goobop, HeyMikey, Steven Payne, defluxion10, Brian82, Major Kong, zerelda, ybruti, Sembtex, KayCeSF, JayDean, marvyt, poemworld, rickeagle, xxdr zombiexx, TexMex, oortdust, Gowrie Gal, davidincleveland, ichibon, subtropolis, chimene, sc kitty, Flint, dewtx, Laurence Lewis, lennysfo, bleeding blue, majcmb1, Sun Tzu, Fury, CompaniaHill, Steve in Urbana, Ozymandius, FindingMyVoice, xaxnar, begone, third Party please, kovie, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, dopper0189, Prognosticator, KenBee, New Rule, blueoasis, Ashaman, gpoutney, Crashing Vor, real world chick, hlsmlane, TayTay, llbear, onionjim, SingerInTheChoir, BlueMississippi, IL clb, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Bernie68, MadScientist, Little, Aaa T Tudeattack, cpresley, clinging to hope, old wobbly, camlbacker, whl, Debs2, offgrid, yoduuuh do or do not, FishOutofWater, Blue State 68, terabytes, Uncle Moji, SeaTurtle, jnhobbs, pioneer111, Wreck Smurfy, janatallow, TomP, fb, JDWolverton, mconvente, GAS, Sixty Something, elwior, filby, Buckeye Nut Schell, Sharon Wraight, Lujane, dewley notid, codairem, doppler effect, JamieG from Md, Mayfly, Bule Betawi, Ran3dy, J M F, ceebee7, bobatkinson, elziax, bfitzinAR, Munchkn, stevenwag, ArthurPoet, Tortmaster, nocynicism, LookingUp, Larsstephens, cassandraX, hotdamn, flitedocnm, The Jester, NJpeach, serendipityisabitch, Susan Grigsby, politik, biggiefries, leftist vegetarian patriot, samanthab, Yasuragi, cocinero, nosleep4u, dot farmer, Wisdumb, Onomastic, Maximilien Robespierre, kerflooey, Bluefin, allenjo, slowbutsure, gbinwc, Seitanist, FarWestGirl, California06, smiley7, thomask, BarackStarObama, Grandma Susie, RMForbes, myrmecia gulosa, PhilJD, VTCC73, Caddis Fly, old mark, Marihilda, bakeneko, Mark Dauner, Hayate Yagami, Oilwellian, leftykook, DRo, Regina in a Sears Kit House, caryltoo, Auriandra, DEMonrat ankle biter, MichaelNY, Laurel in CA, AnnetteK, Sneelock, Liberal Granny, Mindful Nature, Siri, martinjedlicka, This old man, Syoho, MartyM, aznavy, parakeet, AverageJoe42, freshwater dan, Glen The Plumber, George3, Kayjay, Windowpane, Robynhood too, nomandates, DamselleFly, jusjtim35, simple serf, countwebb, jbob, 3rock, Alhambra, Drocedus, RiveroftheWest, Jon Sitzman, ET3117, LilithGardener, Ozy, eagleray, patbahn, gnosticator, occupystephanie, lehman scott, trkingmomoe, kkkkate, Skyye, Richard Villiers, rduran, BMScott, numble, allie4fairness, J Williams

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site