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With numerous solar innovations being announced on a daily basis, what are the solar pros most excited about? We recently posed the question to Hudson Valley Clean Energy Vice President, John Wright. According to Wright, nano solar technology is the thing to look out for.
Nano solar technology does not use a trace of silicon, which is expensive to produce. Instead, it consists of thin photovoltaic material, so thin, in fact, that it can be spread like paint. This poses numerous potential advantages, both in application and production. Imagine a solar cell that can be rolled out, printed by in ink-jet machine, or even painted on surfaces. Applications on roof shingles or other building materials would be that much simpler, and possibilities for the semiconducting material transcend the rooftop and continue on to cell phones, laptops, ipods, and portable electrical devices galore.
Because nano solar cells could be mass produced, they would be cheaper to produce than burning coal, something silicon cells can't necessarily boast about. According to the Environmental News Network, producing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil would reduce production costs to a tenth of that of solar panels, and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute.
Current research on nano solar revolves around making the technology more efficient. In this category, nothing compares to the aptitude of silicon cell. One group is integrating nano solar cells with nanorods – small, semiconducting crystals that could help improve the substance's efficiency.
Nano solar technology is promising because it could potentially be cheaper, faster, more flexible, and hopefully, occupy less space.Interestingly enough, CalFinder Solar asked Wright which new solar technologies he finds to be infeasible. In addition to thin film, Wright mentions nano solar technology in the same category. Promising, it seems, does not equate with useful for all practical, and, especially, immediate purposes.
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