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Cheap Solar Panels Yield Raised by TU Delft

Gijs van Elzakker, a Ph.D scholar from TU Delft, working in Inventux and his team have increased the energy yield of cheap solar panels from 7% to 9% using amorphous silicon as a very thin layer of silicon is sufficient to produce thin film solar cells unlike the more conventional crystalline silicon.

However, the yield of solar cells from amorphous silicon has been relatively low at 7% due to the Staebler-Wronski effect which still not entirely understood, is evident within the first few hours when the panels are exposed to the sun when it causes the yield to slump by a margin of about 33% leading to the yield being 7% from its initial 10%.

Gijs van Elzakker modified the production process to increase the yield by experimenting on solar panels made of silane gas (SiH4). When silane gas is diluted with hydrogen during manufacture, there is a change in the structure of the silicon layer which diminishes the Staebler-Wronski effect. By realizing an optimum ratio of hydrogen gas to silane gas used in the manufacturing process van Elzakker managed to improve the yield of solar panels to about 9% and this technology is used in Inventux.

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