Researchers boost solar energy by tapping infrared light

Our sun blasts out over 50 percent of its energy as “near-infrared” light, but solar cells only harvest visible light. As a result, the best commercial panels only convert about 20 percent of solar energy to electricity. Researchers from UC Riverside have now figured out how to “upconvert” infrared energy into much more useful visible light, a process that could make solar panels up to 30 percent more efficient. To do it, the team combined semiconductors with organic molecules, resulting in a material that essentially helped them “reshape the solar spectrum,” according to lead researcher Christopher Bardeen.

Researchers boost solar energy by tapping infrared light

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Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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