Tuesday, January 15, 2008

U.K. Solar: Researchers get £6.3m for solar cell development (Thin Film)

From New Electronics:

A team of scientists, led by experts at Durham University, is embarking on one of the UK’s largest ever research projects into photovoltaic solar energy. The £6.3million PV-21 programme will focus on making thin film light absorbing cells for solar panels from sustainable and affordable materials.

Eight UK universities – Durham, Bangor, Bath, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Northumbria and Southampton – are involved in the project, which begins in April. Funding is being provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the SUPERGEN initiative.

The universities will work with nine industrial partners with the ‘medium to long term goal’ of making solar energy more competitive and sustainable.
At present solar cells – used to convert light energy into electricity - are made from key components such as the rare and expensive metal indium which costs approximately £320 ($660) per kilogram.

To cut costs in solar cell production, the research team will work to reduce the thickness of the cells. According to the researchers, making a solar semiconductor thinner by 1µm in solar cells generating 1GW could save 50 tonnes of material....MORE