Updates to this story
Solar3D has announced that it has filed a patent for what it calls “breakthrough” 3D solar cell technology.
The company uses the same kinds of light management techniques used in fibre optic devices to create three-dimensional solar cells designed to trap sunlight in micro-photovoltaic structures that bounce photons around until they convert into electrons.
The effects of the technology could mean a significantly more efficient solar power system that lowers the cost per watt. This, in turn, makes solar technology cheaper in general, making it more accessible to a wider consumer base.
Solar3D is also aiming to match the energy efficiency of current electricity grids in order to make solar power a true alternative in terms of energy output and price.
“Our objective is grid parity or better. By re-engineering the solar cell to manage the light and extract all of its available power, we intend to make it: significantly more efficient and production friendly. In doing so, we attack the economic issue from both sides to deliver electricity at a substantially reduced cost per kilowatt hour,” said Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D.
“While our 3D technology can be applied to various photovoltaic materials, such as gallium arsenide, we are currently focused on using silicon, an abundant material with a very mature production industry. We intend to push silicon to its theoretical limits.”