University of NSW Gives Solar Silicon Super Powers

Engineers from the University of New South Wales have created an innovative method to reduce the price of low-grade silicon, ultimately improving electrical efficiency and lower the cost of solar panels.

Silicon is usually the most expensive component in solar cell production, but the UNSW team has developed a mechanism so as to easily correct deficiencies in the silicon.

Professor Stuart Wenham from UNSW’s School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering says the technology will enable low-quality silicon to outperform solar cells made from high-quality materials.

“Our new technique is expected to maximise energy efficiency, from around 19 per cent to 23 per cent, and will initiate significant price reductions throughout the solar industry,” says Professor Wenham.

UNSW patented the technology earlier this year; however purchasers are reminded that cheaper silicon also means lower-quality silicon, with higher levels of contaminants and defects reducing energy efficiency.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has supported the UNSW project and is expecting to see its completion in 2016.

The UNSW team are currently in talks with eight industry partners interested in commercialising the technology, and are working with manufacturing companies to implement the new capabilities.

“Our research team is the first to control the charge state of hydrogen atoms in silicon, consequently correcting defects and determining reactivity,” says Professor Wenham.

Advertisment - Learn more

“We have seen a 10,000 times improvement in the mobility of the hydrogen and we can control the hydrogen so it chemically bonds to things like defects and contaminants, making these inactive.”

The Author

Motivated and dynamic journalist with a strong interest in sustainable solar powered technology. My work in journalism and new media has provided me with a medium to produce content concerning emerging renewable energy.

×

Jessie from Trott Park, South Australia asked for 3 quotes for solar about 7 hours ago!

Tracey from Chuwar, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 11 hours ago!

Sylvia from Hawthorn, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar about 14 hours ago!

Ash from Hampton Park, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Allan from Gunnedah, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Simon from Dakabin, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 2 days ago!

William from Clifton Springs, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 2 days ago!

Henry from Menai, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 2 days ago!

Margaret from Caloundra West, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 2 days ago!

Julie from Hamilton, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 3 days ago!

Riki from Point Cook, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 4 days ago!

John from Carrum Downs, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Lee from Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Dennis from Glenbrook, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Mary from Heidelberg Heights, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Babita from Rockbank, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Babita from Rockbank, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Jill from Cooee Bay, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 6 days ago!

John from Mildura, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 6 days ago!

leslie from Wondecla, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 7 days ago!