A new method aims to boost solar efficiency and offer double to 20 times the power of traditional, flat solar panels.
The average efficiency for solar panels is currently around 13 percent, leaving some homebuyers unconvinced about solar’s potential. But now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new way to significantly boost solar output and efficiency that could improve solar’s appeal among homebuyers.
The team at MIT rearranged the solar cells into cubes that extend upward in three-dimensional tower-like configurations, according to Computer World.
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This new technology is being designed for regions with colder climates, where factors such as cloud cover and temperature can negatively affect solar efficiency. Researchers used computer software to test the new solar system in inclement weather patterns like snow and cloud cover and to ensure this new configuration can survive harsh winters.
These 3D solar cube towers are likely to be more expensive than traditional, flat solar panels. However, solar photovoltaic (PV) module costs in general are falling–75 percent since 2009, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). And researchers say the initial cost of this new technology will be offset by the benefit of higher efficiency.
MIT’s solar development is still underway and could be years from hitting the mass market, but this new system is good news for green builders looking to offer solar as standard, because higher efficiencies can appeal to skeptical homebuyers.
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