Nano-Based Solar Cell 18% More Efficient than Conventional Solar Cells

GE Global Research, the centralized research organization of the General Electric Company, announced that scientists on their Nano Photovoltaics (PV) team have demonstrated a scalable silicon nanowire-based solar cell, which has the potential to achieve up to 18% efficiency and be produced at a dramatically lower cost than conventional solar cells. This demonstration represents a promising development in the effort to make PV systems more economically viable for consumers.

GE reported its development recently in the journal Applied Physics Letters, which can be accessed online at http://scitation.aip.org/journals/doc/APPLAB-ft/vol_91/iss_23/ 233117_1.html. The paper also was featured in the Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology, http://scitation.aip.org/dbt/dbt.jsp?KEY=VIRT01&Volume=16&Issue=26 &type=ALERT, which highlights the latest research in nanotechnology from various science journals. (Long URLs in this release may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)

“GE’s demonstration of the silicon nanowire-based cell represents a significant breakthrough in our efforts to enable higher efficiency cells that can be produced at much lower production costs,” said Dr. Loucas Tsakalakos, Project Leader of GE’s Nano PV team. “Today, higher efficiency often comes with a higher price tag. Through the unique processing and materials property benefits enabled by nanotechnology, we’re aiming to break that paradigm and pave the way to making solar power more affordable for consumers while maintaining and even improving cell performance.”

Increasing the affordability and availability of solar power is a key part of GE’s ecomagination initiative. Ecomagination represents the company’s commitment to develop cleaner technology and product solutions to address the world’s toughest environmental and energy challenges. GE has committed to more than doubling its level of investment in environmentally friendly technologies like solar from $700 million to $1.5 billion by the year 2010. GE is well on track to meet its commitment, surpassing the $1 billion mark in R+D spending this year.

GE Energy markets and sells solar electric power systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. GE’s Global Research Center is actively engaged in developing cutting-edge technologies that will advance the Company’s product portfolio. The work published in Applied Physics Letters was a result of collaboration between researchers at GE Global Research and GE Energy-Solar Technologies.

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