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New photovoltaic technology promises lowest cost solar energy

New photovoltaic technology promises lowest cost solar energy

University of Oxford researchers have developed a new photovoltaic (PV) technology that they claim could provide the lowest cost-performance photovoltaic solution on the market.

Prototypes of the Meso Superstructured Solar Cells (MSSC) have achieved an efficiency of 10.9%, while using a simple manufacturing process with inexpensive and abundant raw materials.

The technology, which can be incorporated into glass building facades, has been exclusively licensed by Isis Innovation, the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford, to Oxford Photovoltaics, which was spun out by Isis.

"This new class of solar cells will deliver a massively scaleable product firstly for the building integrated PVs market and, as energy conversion performance improves further, for other high volume PV applications," said Oxford Photovoltaics ceo Kevin Arthur. "Ultimately we envisage this technology competing directly with grid delivered electricity."

The technology involves combining specifically formulated ceramics with thin films. An MSSC can be printed directly onto glass and processed at below 150°C to produce a semi transparent, robust layer.

MSSCs have proven to suffer from few losses to provide a photovoltage of 1.1V. The researchers hope to optimise the devices and achieve over 20% efficiency, which the team says will outperform anything else on the market.

Author
Simon Fogg

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