As more homebuyers look toward rooftop solar to meet their home’s power needs, researchers are searching for ways to boost the efficiency and lifespan of the panels.
Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany have developed a unique workaround aimed at increasing efficiency through an invisible solution.
One of the main issues in solar efficiency that the researchers have to address is design. Every solar panel uses “contact fingers,” which are small hinges that latch each section of the panel together.
KIT has developed a system that guides light around the contact fingers to increase efficiency. The researchers are calling the system an invisibility cloak because of the way it displaces light.
To achieve the higher efficiency cloaking effect, KIT applied a polymer coating onto the solar cells while also adding a deep groove along the contact fingers, according to Kurzweil News.
The polymer coating and groove are used to refract light away from the contact fingers and back toward the surface of the solar cells.
The researchers are planning on an efficiency increase of ten percent.
As more efficient solar panels begin to hit the residential market, green builders can look toward this research as good news for a bright future when it comes to solar.