New Hybrid Solar Cell Produces Five Times Higher Voltage Than Competitors

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Solar cells are becoming increasingly efficient, but many still fail to make full use of the radiation that falls upon them. A new hybrid cell, however, converts unused light into heat to boost its efficiency by 20 per cent.

Researchers have taken a conventional dye-sensitised solar cell and placed it upon a film of PEDOT — a conductive polymer that warms up when light shines upon it. Beneath that are a sheet of pyroelectric film and a thermoelectric device, both of which convert heat into electricity.

As a result, light that isn’t absorbed by the solar cell is converted into electricity, too — providing a 20 per cent boost in efficiency. The idea of creating a hybrid solar cell like this isn’t a new one, but the device in question manages to a voltage that’s five times higher than other comparable hybrid systems.

The extra hardware required to create hybrid solar cells typically makes them prohibitively expensive, but such a significant bump in output may be enough to justify the extra costs.

[ACS Nano via PhysOrg]

Image by Michael Mazengarb under Creative Commons license.