A more efficient and unobtrusive solar cell could be made with fewer materials and less energy, according to University of Michigan research. Silver nanoparticles added to a restructured and thinner silicon layer inside the solar cell captured more light and improved electricity flow. The cell efficiency improved by 8 percent. Solar panels put on roofs and other surfaces gather sunlight to produce electricity.
Scientists report a way to make efficient solar cells that could use less material and energy than it takes to build current models, thus lowering the overall cost of the units.
Reducing costs and materials would make solar panels less expensive, a step that could drive transition to solar cells and increase the use of this renewable energy. More people may be willing to put the units on their homes and businesses if they were cheaper and easier to build and install.