Solar Cell improvements cut costs, raise efficiency
Although solar energy presents a clean and renewable resource, solar installations have typically been associated with high production costs and low operating efficiency. This could change with the advent of a new solar cell developed by Northwestern University experts.
According to Environmental Protection Online, a new device has been developed that solves problems that have been noted with the Gratzel cell, which is made of an organic liquid that can leak and corrode the solar module. But Northwestern chemist Mercouri Kanatzidis says he has come up with a device to solve this problem.
"The Gratzel cell is like having the concept for the light bulb but not having the tungsten wire or carbon material," he said, describing the need to replace the liquid. "We created a robust novel material that makes the Gratzel cell concept work better. Our material is solid, not liquid, so it should not leak or corrode."
Solar energy installations are becoming more prevalent across the country. According to Greentech Media, the growth rate of photovoltaic installations from 2010 to 2011 was 109 percent, growing from 887 MW installed to 1,885 MW.