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New design pattern can increase solar panel efficiency

Designing solar panels with checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125%, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of York. 

The researchers set out to investigate how different surface designs can impact the absorption of sunlight in solar cells.

They found that a checkerboard design improved diffraction, which as a result enhanced the probability of light being absorbed which is then used to create electricity.

The renewable energy sector is constantly looking for ways to boost light absorption in solar cells, creating slimmer cells and changing the surface design would not only make them cheaper but would also make them more environmentally friendly.

Dr Christian Schuster from the Department of Physics said: ‘We found a simple trick for boosting the absorption of slim solar cells.

‘Our investigations show that our idea actually rivals the absorption enhancement of more sophisticated designs – while also absorbing more light deep in the plane and less light near the surface structure itself.

‘Our design rule meets all relevant aspects of light-trapping for solar cells, clearing the way for simple, practical, and yet outstanding diffractive structures, with a potential impact beyond photonic applications.

‘This design offers the potential to further integrate solar cells into thinner, flexible materials and therefore create more opportunity to use solar power in more products.’

Source: Environment Journal