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Solar Cells with a Difference

The price of solar cells has consistently fallen as more and more people install them in their homes and businesses, but it still remains out of reach for many, who do want to make a sustainable choice regarding power generation.

Government subsidies are still necessary because the manufacturing costs of solar cells are still prohibitively high.

Anirudh Sharma, a PhD candidate at Flinders University has come up with an alternative, less expensive way of manufacturing solar cells.

He says that in traditional manufacturing methods, various materials are sequentially deposited on top of each other forming a sandwich structure but as time passes the materials mix resulting in device degradation.

His technique has better control over the material intermixing as it involves deposition of materials on two different electrically conductive surfaces which will be followed by lamination, this will result in stable and better performing solar cells.

These plastic solar cells can be easily manufactured through printing machines making the cells more scalable. As the fabrication process is simple the cost of each cell also reduces drastically.

“For the past 50 years, the traditional solar panels which you see on rooftops have been made from silicon but these cells are very expensive to produce because silicon requires excessive amounts of energy to purify. Plastic solar cells, on the other hand, are really light and flexible so they can be used to coat a whole range of different surfaces – they are portable enough to put them on day to day carry bags and even camping tents – and plastic itself is cheap as chips”, Sharma explained.

He feels that this modern solar cell will replace traditional silicon based solar cells in building designs as they are portable and can be coated along the window panels.

Solar cell manufacturing units all over the world face various challenges; this plastic based design for solar cell has such a simple manufacturing process thus producing more cells with less cost.

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