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bright point technology boasts 14.6% solar cell efficiency

Blue Square Energy, is a developer and manufacturer silicon based solar cells. The company recently announced that they had their new solar cell using bright point technology independently verified from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) at an efficiency of 14.6%. While the Blue Square solar cells are not the most efficient on the market, this is a remarkable efficiency since this cell is made out of lower grade silicon called UMG (upgraded metallurgical-grade) silicon. Lower grade solar cells with higher efficiencies mean more affordable solar panels that achieve a faster return on investment (ROI) Solar cells are made up of silicon and up till now inexpensive silicon was considered not suitable for the solar cells now through Bright Point Technology can be used to offer solar panels at a price more people can afford without sacrificing the efficiency of the solar panel. According to the company, through proprietary manufacturing processes Blue Square will soon offer the most cost-efficient solar cells on the market. Blue Square says they have turned the impurities in lower grade silicon into an advantage by finding a way to use them to our advantage. Do you think solar cell manufacturers will be able to find more techniques to turn low grade silicon into high performing solar cells? Will this type of process be more common as solar cell developers look for ways to reduce the cost of going...

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breaking world records for thin film solar cells

Ascent Solar, a company which focuses on developing cutting edge thin film technology recently announced they have successfully developed a thin film solar cell made of CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenide) that reached efficiencies of greater then 9.5%. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) independently verified that the solar panels made by Ascent Solar measured as high as 9.64% conversion efficiency. CIGS solar cells are made of a plastic substrate compared to silicon which is the material traditional solar cells are composed of. CIGS solar panels are flexible and can be delivered at a lower cost compared to silicon base solar cells. With efficiencies of thin film solar cells now reaching close to 10%, thin film is becoming a more viable solution for residential installations. Moving forward I think thin film solar cells are going to get much better replacing silicon based solar cells all together, wouldn’t you think so? The advantages of thin film solar cells is that they can be integrated into items such as roofing shingles, sides of buildings..etc…what would be other places we could integrate thin film solar cells into? Ascent Solar has not commercialized this technology yet, although according to the company they are working towards more highly efficient and even lower cost solar panels that will be commercialized sooner than later. Do you think the company will be able to...

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UCLA developing the next high efficiency solar cell?

The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science is working on a polymer based solar cell that claims to be highly efficient compared to what’s out on the market today. The special aspect of polymer based solar cells is they can bring solar everywhere, meaning solar panels that people could hang on the wall, similar to hanging a poster on the wall. If solar technology could become that easy to deploy, you would see solar cells integrated into virtually every product that requires power. The UCLA research team discovered manipulating the silicon atom for a carbon atom in the polymer solar cell greatly improved the conversion of light into electricity, also known as the photovoltaic effect. The team has reached a 5.6% efficiency, which is great for these low cost solar cells. Traditional silicon based solar cells have an efficiency of over 20%, so these polymer based solar cells have a long way to go before they become as efficient as traditional silicon solar cells. The research team’s goal is to get their low cost, flexible solar cell to an efficiency to over 10%….do you think its possible? How long do you think it will take before solar cells are very common in our daily...

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GoGreenSolar.com on TechZulu

I wanted to share this interview with TechZulu that took place during L.A. Tech Week featuring Clean Energy last month. I was very impressed meeting some interesting people at the event, including the person responsible for the space power systems for the Mars Rover. NASA has been using solar technology for a long time and they only use solar cells that are much higher efficiencies than what we see in the consumer market. I also interacted with a private company working on interesting technology to charge Electric Vehicles in 10 minutes with a quick battery charger. GM was showing off a hydrogen fuel cell car and of course my favorite the Tesla pure electric Roadster was also being promoted at the event. These are the cutting edge technologies that are going to change the way we view energy in the near...

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Polysilcion prices forecasted to decline in 2009

Do you know what computer chips and photovoltaic solar cells have in common? They are both would not be possible without the amazing element, Silicon. Many of the solar panels on the market currently are made up of Polysilicon, which is an element in high demand in short supply thus keeping the prices of photovoltaic solar panels out of reach of the mainstream population. According to industry reports, Polysilicon supply is going to exceed the demand in 2009, which will have a direct impact on the market prices of solar panels. How much will prices of solar panels drop next year is the question on many consumers minds on the fence of going solar. I think with the increased federal tax credit for residential customers, more state rebate programs coming online, the prices of solar panels predicted to drop, raising electric rates and the volatile stock market will create the perfect environment for a investment in solar power to be more attractive then its ever been in 2009. What do you think? With consumers cutting back on spending will this slow down the exploding solar power...

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