Low cost solar cells suitable for rooftop panels could reach a record-breaking 40 percent efficiency following an early stage breakthrough by a University of Sydney researcher and his German partners.
With Australian Solar Institute support, Professor Tim Schmidt from the University’s School of Chemistry, together with the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy, has developed a “turbo for solar cells”, called photochemical upconversion that allows energy, normally lost in solar cells, to be turned into electricity. The finding has been published in the Energy & Environmental Science journal.
Professor Tim Schmidt said using the upconversion technique, a process which harvests the part of the solar spectrum currently unused by solar cells, eliminates the need for costly redevelopment of solar cells. ”We are able to boost efficiency by forcing two energy-poor red photons in the cell to join and make one energy-rich yellow photon that can capture light, which is then turned into electricity,” Professor Schmidt said.