Eco Factor: Tiny solar cells expected to produce more power at less cost.
Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratory have developed glitter-sized photovoltaic cells that are about ten times thinner than conventional solar cells and promise to revolutionize solar power. The research team has identified over 20 benefits of these solar cells that includes better performance, low cost and more efficiency.
These cells can easily be integrated in clothing to help military personnel or hikers generate solar energy for their electronic gear when on the move or resting. The cells are just 14-20 micrometers thick or about ten times thinner than a conventional 6 X 6 inch solar module.
Photovoltaic modules equipped with these cells can be produced by a commercial machine called a pick-and-place machine that can place up to 130,000 pieces of glitter cells per hour on electrical contact points pre-established on the substrate, which could reduce the cost of a module. The team believes that cells can also be equipped with low-cost solar concentrators to even better their efficiency.