Although there are several advantages of solar energy but its high cost is the biggest barrier to its common use.
This high price may be due to various reasons including political and economic factors, but a big factor that contributes majorly towards the high price is technological cost.
Recently, the researchers at Caltech have successfully created a new material that will be used to make solar-panel, replacing the use of solar cells as we now use them.
Right now, there are two basic types of photovoltaic, or PV, cells that are in use. The first one is a solid silicon-based PV cell that although is very efficient, but it is very costly and fragile to make.
The other one is a thin film cell, which is quite cheap as compared to the first one, but lacks efficiency. With the advent of this new material, the gap between performance and price will be filled.
According to Harry Atwater, who is the head of the Atwater Research Group at Caltech, the new solar material which is made of tiny silicon wires could dramatically reduce the cost of creating a silicon solar cell.
As told by Atwater, the new material will be much cheaper because instead of the expensive process of making a wafer and slicing it up, throwing away two thirds of it in the process, the new material is grown and literally peeled off like a plastic sheet, similar to the way scotch tape is peeled off a tape dispenser.
Moreover, it is quite easy to produce the material and it uses 99% less silicon as compared to a regular solar panel. But this doesn’t mean that it has any affect on its efficiency, the silicon wire panels have very high solar-absorption rates.
Thus by using this new material, it will be possible to create more panels by using less money, which would enable us to bring the cost per watt for solar energy down.