Views:0 Author:Site Editor Publish Time: 2020-11-20 Origin:Site
Traditional solar cells still focus on crystalline silicon technology. A few years ago, the cost of silicon solar panels was $4 per watt. Professor Martin Green of the University of New South Wales in Australia, one of the "leading brothers" in the field of research, once declared that the cost of silicon solar panels can never be less than $1 per watt. But now, he said: "The cost has dropped to about 50 cents/watt, and it may drop to 36 cents/watt."
The goal set by the US Department of Energy is to be less than 1 cent/watt by 2020. This goal does not only refer to the cost of solar panels, but in terms of the entire solar panel installation system. Green believes that the solar energy industry may accomplish this goal ahead of schedule. By then, the direct cost of solar energy is expected to drop to 6 cents/kWh, which is lower than the cost of energy supplied by new natural gas power plants. The total cost of solar energy will include the cost of facilities manufactured to compensate for the intermittent nature of sunlight. Of course, it will be higher, but the exact amount depends on factors such as how much solar energy is in the grid.
Various organizations in the silicon solar industry have been looking for ways to cut costs and increase the energy output of solar panels. In the 1990s, Green's laboratory produced a solar cell with a record conversion rate, and its record has been maintained to this day. In order to obtain this conversion record, Green had to use expensive lithography technology to make fine wires to collect the current provided by the solar cells. But the steady development of technology allows scientists to use screen printing to create fine wires. Recent studies have shown that screen printing can produce wires with a width of only 30 microns, which is similar to the width of Green wires, but at a much lower cost.
Green said that the combination of this technology and other technologies is expected to make it cheaper and more convenient to replicate his high-efficiency solar cells on the production line. Some companies have developed the technology to manufacture the front-end metal contacts of solar cells. However, the design of the back-end electronic contacts is more difficult, but he hopes that a company can find a way.
Coincidentally, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has produced a flexible solar cell on a new type of glass (ultra-thin, highly curved glass manufactured by Corning). The thin-film cadmium telluride solar cell they produced is currently a solar cell that can compete with traditional silicon solar cells in mass production. Now, such solar cells can only be manufactured in batches (the same is true for silicon solar cells), but being able to manufacture them on a piece of bendable glass offers the possibility of continuous roll-to-roll use. It can be manufactured in a way (just like printing a newspaper), which can reduce costs by increasing output.