Research into solar power is proceeding on several fronts; one of them is 3-dimensional solar technology rather than the flat solar cells that are currently prevalent. Solar3D, Inc. is the developer of that 3-dimensional solar technology. This week, they announced that simulated tests of its new solar cell design predict conversion efficiency to exceed 25%.
If the new solar cells work as expected, they would have one of – if not the – highest rates of conversion efficiency in the industry. Jim Nelson, President and CEO of Solar3D, waxed enthusiastic in an interview with Business Wire:
“We are very encouraged by these test results. We are now evaluating various methods of fabricating a prototype. If the results of our tests hold up in fabrication, as we expect, then our product’s performance will be among the very highest conversion efficiencies achieved by silicon solar cells.”
If You Build It, They Will Come
After building and testing the prototype, the company will need someone to build it. Solar3D doesn’t manufacture its own products, but they’ve got their eye on a number of semiconductor manufacturers. Nelson’s enthusiasm continued, in the Business Wire interview:
“These test results are very exciting and give us a great deal of confidence in the development path we have chosen. We think that our novel 3-dimensional solar cell has the potential to dramatically change the economics of solar power. A high efficiency solar cell manufactured with low cost silicon could result in the lowest cost per watt in the industry.”
In the best-case scenario, low production costs would lead to low prices for the end user and increased popularity for solar arrays (although solar power is doing quite well already!). As solar power is already a well-known and fairly popular green energy option, I can’t really see a downside here. Good luck, Solar3D!