Chemistry professor Xiaoyang Zhu and his team at the University of Texas discovered that using an organic plastic semiconductor in photovoltaic solar cells can double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power far more cheaply. Dean Kuipers at the LA Times reports that the plastic could double the number of electrons harvested out of one photon of sunlight, boosting the maximum efficiency of a solar cell from about 30% to over 60%. Right now, using ordinary sunlight, he’s getting 44% efficiency, a big boost — and it could be done with ordinary rooftop panels. Solar technology breakthroughs seem to be coming fast lately. Recently, researcher Douglas Keszlar at Oregon State University discovered that fairly ordinary materials like iron silicon sulfide, could make hyper-efficient and cheap photovoltaics. This reinforces a recent study by Joshua Pearce at Toronto’s Queen’s University, who found that cost estimates for solar technology used by energy analysts are greatly inflated, because the technology is changing so fast. Thus, while commonly used studies list solar electricity up to $7 or more per watt, Pearce noted the real 2011 cost is under $1.
Breakthrough could double solar electricity ouput. A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight. Los AngelesTime
New Study: Solar Grid Parity Is Here Today A definitive new LCOE study says solar has achieved parity. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/New-Study-Solar-Grid-Parity-Is-Here-Today/