Semprius has come up with three key innovations for cheaper solar power

A stacked solar cell made by Semprius

A stacked solar cell made by Semprius

Stacked solar cells could achieve more than 50 percent efficiency and 5 cent per kilowatt hour costs in 3 to 5 yearsSemprius has come up with three key innovations for cheaper solar power. 

Still the batteries – as far as we know, based on chemical reactions – need innovations quickly to take advantage of this great new technology.

In its designs, Semprius uses tiny individual solar cells, each just a millimeter across. That reduces costs for cooling and also helps improve efficiency

3 Key innovations:

1. a cheap, fast way to stack cells
2. a proprietary way to electrically connect cells
3. a new kind of glue for holding the cells together

Re-use crystalline wafers

In addition to being fast and precise, the approach also makes it possible to reuse the expensive crystalline wafers that multi junction solar cells are grown on. Eventually the company hopes to stack two multi junction devices, for a total of five or six semiconductors with a “very high performance, up to 50 percent efficiency,” says Scott Burroughs, vice president of technology at Semprius. He says the company hopes to achieve this in three to five years.

Stacked solar cells could achieve more than 50 percent efficiency and 5 cent per kilowatt hour costs in 3 to 5 years.

Stacked solar cells could achieve more than 50 percent efficiency and 5 cent per kilowatt hour costs in 3 to 5 years.

50% more efficiency

The cells will be more costly than conventional ones. Costs won’t come down until production happens at a large scale.
With economies of scale, however, such cells could improve the economics of solar power. At a scale of 80 to 100 megawatts a year of manufacturing capacity, a cell with 50 percent efficiency would make it possible to reach costs of less than five cents per kilowatt-hour.

Nano Engineering

Good thing about solar power is that when we are mastering nano-engineering the cost of solar panels and storage batteries will increase. Still the batteries – so far as we know, based on chemical reactions – need innovations quickly because of the irreducible amount of chemical storage agents required per unit energy (kWh).
Question remains: are these solar panels also available for roofs?

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One Response to Semprius has come up with three key innovations for cheaper solar power

  1. Peter John says:

    If they can get 40% efficient multi-junction cells, and convert ~80% of collected light, and use lenses that collect light from ~90% of panel surface area, that should get close to 30% of panel incident visible light energy – 2x to 3x conventional commercial panels, and at probably about the same price per panel once increased manufacturing costs are balanced against maybe 50% lower semiconductor costs. Not too bad…

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