Natcore Technology Developing “Absolute Black” Silicon Wafers

Solar panels have a long list of positives, from limitless electricity from the sun with no air pollution or carbon dioxide emissions to financial benefits, but they still have a hard time competing with coal, natural gas, oil and other sources of energy.

A company called Natcore Technology has developed “absolute black” silicon wafers for solar panels that will absorb 99.7 percent of the visible light falling on them. The most efficient solar panels currently absorb 96 percent. In a business where every photon counts, Natcore said the difference could be significant.

Chuck Provini, the company’s CEO, stated the panels will not require hazardous chemicals to produce and should help drive down the price of solar energy. “Black silicon will improve power output and reduce cost—the two things that matter most,” he said.

Panels made from black silicon solar cells will produce significantly more energy on a daily basis than a panel made from cells using the industry standard antireflective coating. First, it reflects less light. Second, it performs better during the morning and afternoon hours when the sun hits at an angle, and outperforms standard cell panels on cloudy days. Its higher energy output, combined with a lower cost using Natcore’s patented process, could quickly make black silicon the global solar technology of choice.

Solar power remains a small part of the nation’s energy mix, but high oil prices give it new visibility. Natcore hopes to be making solar panels from its new wafers in four to six weeks.

Author: CP Staff

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Posted in: Solar Energy

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