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Published on February 25th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar Panel Film Increases Efficiency 300%, Cuts Costs in Half

February 25th, 2011 by  

California-based HyperSolar has developed a solar panel film that, using “cutting edge photonics techniques,” can move specific light spectra to the places they are needed most in order to increase solar panel efficiency. Using this film instead of traditional solar panel film, efficiency can reportedly be increased 300%!

Using this efficient, new technology, the cost of solar panel installations could theoretically be cut in half. Of course, the higher efficiency means a faster return on investment (ROI), something which is already quite fast in many U.S. locations and beats the heck out of playing the stock market in some places.

“With HyperSolar as the top layer, manufacturers can use significantly fewer solar cells in the production of solar panels, thereby dramatically reducing the cost per watt of electricity,” HyperSolar says. “We believe this is a revolutionary way to make solar panels.”

HyperSolar says that its patent-pending is primarily based on 4 innovations:

  • Micro Concentrators – A matrix of small and highly efficient solar concentrators are used to collect sunlight throughout the day from a wide range of angles without requiring mechanisms to track the sun.
  • Photonics Light Routing – An innovative solid-state photonics network underneath the Micro Concentrators transports light from points of collection at the top, to points of concentrated output at the bottom. This results in a very thin layer.
  • Photonics Light Separation – Innovative techniques are employed in the photonics network to separate the collected sunlight into different spectrum ranges, where they can be routed to different output points at the bottom where different types of solar cells may be placed.
  • Photonics Thermal Management – Solar cells can only convert a part of the solar spectrum into electricity. The unused portion turns into heat, which actually degrades the performance of the solar cell. HyperSolar’s technology filters out the unused solar spectrum to deliver maximum useful solar energy to the solar cell and avoid overheating.

Looks like a pretty promising technology.

What do you all think?

Related Story: International Solar PV Nearly Doubled, PV Growth Doubled in 2010

Image Credits: HyperSolar

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About the Author

Zach is tryin’ to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada.

Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don’t jump to conclusions.

  • Bigtob

    I want this product… Awesome… has the cost shifted or remained constant?

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  • Scott P.

    Exciting technology, I hope they can bring it to market in a big way.

  • sola

    Would be hell of an achievement if delivers.

  • mds

    Here are some of my notes from their site:
    “Applied to the top of solar cells, the low-cost HyperSolar concentrator can increase solar cell output by as much as 400%.”
    http://www.hypersolar.com/news_detail.php?id=9 “Company Models Show Magnification of 300%” – November 2010
    “HyperSolar Announces Initial Breakthrough Design to Dramatically Increase the Power Output of Solar Cell”
    “Santa Barbara, CA – November 15, 2010 – HyperSolar, Inc. (OTCBB: HYSR), the developer of a breakthrough technology to magnify the power of the Sun to significantly increase the power output of solar cells, today announced that new design models show potential magnification of 300%.”
    “ ‘At HyperSolar, we are developing the world’s first thin and flat light magnification layer for direct application on top of standard solar cells to increase their power output.’ “ This is a false statement, see Morgan Solar above. mds
    “Instead of using 3 solar cells to cover an area on a solar panel, only 1 solar cell is needed underneath a 300% HyperSolar layer. This allows solar panel manufacturers to reduce the number of expensive solar cells in their panels, by 66%, and dramatically reduce the cost per watt of their solar panels.”
    “ ‘we are exploring various designs and microphotonic elements to increase the magnification by as much as 400% in the final product.’ ” They’re clearly talking about a product with 3x concentration (an increase of 200%, not 300%) and they’re working toward 4x concentration (an increase of 300%, not 400%). mds

  • mds

    You put up a lot of great posts on RE. I agree with a lot of your views and they’re well defended so I’m a fan. There are some inaccuracies here. They’re not really talking about a 300% increase in efficiency. They’re talking about a 300% (3x) concentration. The cell would have the same efficiency, but would be receiving 3 times the sun light. The panel would have the same efficiency measured at the front face as the solar cell, usually a little less because some is always lost in the concentration transition. The advantage, as I’m sure you’re aware, is the ability to use more expensive high-efficiency solar cells and still keep your cost down. You can get an increase in efficiency this way but I do not see any information on the efficiency of the cells they’re using.
    Actually HyperSolar is calling their 300% concentration a 300% increase in Power Output. It is not. It’s a 200% increase. No concentrator at all would be 100% (1x) concentration and a 0% increase in Power Output. They are also not correct about being the first. Morgan Solar in Canada is also coming out with photonic concentrator. The concentration level is much higher 750x, up to 1,000x maybe. Morgan Solar is claiming about 35% efficiency, achieved by very using high-efficiency solar cells, and $0.50/Wp. This would be over 3 times better efficiency than First Solar at a lower $/Wp cost. …and since the larger portion of solar costs is now installation and you have 1/3 the number of solar cells to install for the same solar electric output…. This is very exciting, but talk is cheap and we’ll have to wait and see what they actually bring to market.
    Two things seem problematic here:
    (a) How are they going to compete with Morgan Solar who claims a much higher efficiency?
    (b) Where are they going to get their cells? Solar cells are not designed to use different portions of the solar spectrum. They could be, but you can’t just go buy them like that.
    I wish both companies the best of luck. This is a breakthrough approach with the potential to cut the cost of solar electricity by more than half …almost over-night.

    • mds, thanks for you input and clarifications.

      & regarding “This is very exciting, but talk is cheap and we’ll have to wait and see what they actually bring to market.” I totally agree

      • paulo

        There are schills all over the internet! Google it. Sun rays increase in intensity and output increases. Use thick wire also as it increases output also .

  • Gnana

    HyperSolar Announces Initial Breakthrough Design to Dramatically Increase the Power Output of Solar Cell
    Company Models Show Magnification of 300%
    It is the Magnification of solar intensity of 300% and not the efficiency! Please check and report.

  • The title looks little confusing. What is the final Maximum efficiency of the Solar cell? Increase by 300% just makes the confusion. The manufacturers web page says the concentration of sun rays is increased by 300% and not the efficiency.
    It is better to give the correct position please.

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  • Great approach, however, what about the costs of this focussing layer? This technology is not new and older versions alway had the problem, that the panels had a much higher efficieny but the costs where much higher.
    What about the heat production within the panel?

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