Solar power is one of many emerging energy technologies that look to be the future in the way we light our world. The systems that drive solar power have come a long way in just a few decades of existence, but there are further steps that can be taken, and innovation is still basically young. Everything from detector spectral response measurements to better battery storage can improve the capabilities of solar energy. To put it simply: the future of solar is wide-ranging and integral to a modern world.
And the U.S. Department of Energy agrees. Recently they approved some $46.2 million to help fund 48 different projects that could invigorate the solar field. This all relates to the departments SunShot Initiative, which looks to lower the cost and increase the efficiency of solar energy nationwide.
Within these initiatives, five projects really stand out in their potential impact to the solar energy matrix. They include:
- MIT’s Two-Dimensional Material Based Layer Transfer for Low-Cost, High-Throughput, High-Efficiency Solar Cells
A bit of a mouthful, but this project from Cambridge is vital in finding a way to lower the cost of substrate materials. Substrate materials grow solar cells; lower the cost of substrates drastically (and that cost is high), and the impact on solar ability cannot be overstated.
- Lehigh University’s Tunneling Back-Contacted Silicon Photovoltaics
Researchers here want to work with atomic layer deposited (ALD) tunnel barriers in order to improve electron movement across the silicon surfaces of solar cells.
- Arizona State University’s Sound Assisted Low Temperature (SALT) Spalling
With a grant of $222,519, the team at ASU is in the very early days of using sound waves to help improve crack formation during spalling. Spalling is, essentially, a technique that allows for less waste in silicon block creations (which leads to less waste in solar cell creation).
- BrightSpot Automation LLC and Improving Solar Panel Durability
Easy to overlook because of its simplicity, but potentially groundbreaking nonetheless and the recipient of one of the USDE’s larger grants, the ability to improve panels tenacity is one of the biggest challenges in the solar industry.
- University of Central Florida’s Characterization of Contact Degradation in Crystalline Silicon PV Modules
One of two large UCF grants, this one being developed by Kristopher Davis and seeks to streamline manufacturing capabilities by using a very specific metrology solution. Both UCF projects are considered fairly groundbreaking and were awarded over $1.5 million dollars each.
How can detector spectral response measurements help in this solar study? Simple: without core metrics, and stable standards, a revolutionary concept in energy and light will be flawed from the beginning. Our OL 750-DSR is the most innovative automated spectroradiometer designed with this in mind. We believe that a strong core is the building block for ground breaking technology. If you want to learn more, visit our blog!