3D Solar Cells Integrated into Solar Roof Tiles

| March 22, 2012 |

There’s no denying that the presence of large solar panels on the roof of one’s house can detract from the overall look. Equally, there’s no debating the fact that solar energy is one of the most sustainable and easily usable sources of energy for our homes.

California-based company Solar3D is planning to explore the feasibility of integrating solar cells directly into roof tiles. Conventional solar panels are not amenable for use as roof tiles, but Solar3D is of the view that its 3D solar cells might overcome the challenge.

In this effort, Solar3D intends to collaborate with solar roofing company Redwood Renewables.

With conventional 2D solar cells, efficiency is reduced significantly once the angle at which the sun’s rays fall on the panel goes beyond a narrow range. The intent of 3D solar cells is to expand this range of angles.

By expanding the range of incident angles, the solar cells remain effective even during early mornings and late evenings. This is particularly beneficial during winter months when it gets dark much earlier.

Solar3D cells also do a better job of trapping sunlight inside photovoltaic structures. This increases the percentage of sunlight that gets stored and converted into electrical energy. In other words, the efficiency or productivity of the solar cell is higher.

Solar3D claims its 3D solar cells have an internal efficiency of more than 25%, which is higher than the 15-19% efficiency figure seen in conventional commercial solar cells.

According to Solar3D, the combined result of the above two factors is that its cells can generate twice the energy output that conventional solar cells can. That’s quite a big deal, isn’t it?





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