Solar energy has been a crucial research field for many years; unfortunately, due to low conversion efficiency, which the scientists have been trying to deal with, the maximum efficiency has been around 20-30 percent.Recently, advances in nanotechnology is going to lead to a higher efficiency and lower costs which will tremendous impact on solar sector. According to the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory(NREL), “the nanotechnology research on solar energy will provide an answer to the efficiency problem, boosting the ability to convert sunlight into power by using less material .
Fig1 .Nanotechnology application on solar cell
Recent study on solar cell from Princeton University showed that by devising a nanostructured “sandwich” of metal and plastic has been increasing triple the efficiency of solar cells. This invention is called plasmodic cavity with subwavelength hole array.It basically consists of a thin strap of plastic sandwiches between the layers.Moreover , Northwestern University introduced a method to increase the efficiency such that it uses carbon-based materials rather than silicon crystals; where the light first enters 100 nm thick leyer with an complex geometric pattern. These two recent study has been developing by the researches to provide a sustainable for the long term.
Fig2 . Complex nano-patterning on solar cell
Consequently, the effect on solar industry on energy sector is tremendous. For instance, 8 kwh/day radiation is received in Arizona and Texas which is a very important number.Hence, when the efficiency problem is solved with the ongoing researches, the sector will make a huge profit with lower manufacturing costs . Also, this will be renewable and environmentally friendly which will bring great and new advantages for everybody.
Source:US Dep. of Energy