Israeli firm offers doubled-faced solar cells to increase energy yields

Jul 04, 2012 by Bob Yirka report
Israeli firm offers doubled-faced solar cells to increase energy yields

(Phys.org) -- An Israeli firm called bSolar has introduced a dual-faced solar cell that it says can boost energy yields by 10 to 30% with conventional mounted inclined panels, and up to 50% with panels that are mounted vertically. The double-sided cells increase yields by taking advantage of light that bounces off surfaces behind the panel, thus the more light that is bounced back and strikes the cells, the more electricity they are able to produce.

Scientists have known for years that double sided solar cells could collect more light and thus produce more electricity, but until now, the amount of additional electricity that could be produced didn’t make up for the larger cost to make such a cell. That’s where the new solar cells by bSolar differ. The company says that through much effort they have figured out a way to make their worth the additional cost; it involves using boron instead of platinum when constructing the back field. The company says doing so allows for an open rear face and increased efficiency at the front. Also increasing efficiency are the monocrystalline silicon crystal wafers the company uses, which add more to production costs but are better at converting sunlight to than those using conventional multicrystalline silicon.

Israeli firm offers doubled-faced solar cells to increase energy yields

bSolar has already landed a major customer in Nasukarasuyama city, Tochigi, Japan where partner TSBM will be constructing a 730 kWp ground mounted project to supply the area with solar generated power.

Mounting dual-faced cells is likely to differ from conventional systems to allow for more sunlight to be bounced to the back side. Painting roofs white for instance or with reflective silver coatings could help dramatically as could mounting the panels with more space between them to prevent sunlight being bounced in other directions by other panels or objects such as A/C units or vents on top of buildings.

bSolar was started in 2007 with the express idea of creating and selling high efficiency bifacial cells. And while the company is headquartered in Israel, its construction facility is in Heilbronn, Germany. The company is operating with $10 million in startup capital from several investors.

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More information: www.b-solar.com/

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User comments : 9

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Sonhouse
3 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2012
Increase by ten to thirty percent but what is the actual percentage?
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 04, 2012
Now they just need to lay down mirrors on the ground and get another boost.

But I like the idea. It's so simple, but only now makes sense when solar cells have become cheap as dirt.
Telekinetic
5 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2012
Increase by ten to thirty percent but what is the actual percentage?

That's the "range" of increase, depending on the intensity of sunlight that strikes the panel. In this case, the light that bounces to the backside of the panel is variable.
Amadillo
1 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2012
Now they just need to lay down mirrors on the ground and get another boost.
Only when there is a space between solar panels without shadows.
Jim Hardy
5 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2012
Innovative 3-D designs from an MIT team can more than double the solar power generated from a given area. I'd love to add a link to but this site won't let me.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2012
Only when there is a space between solar panels without shadows.

Shadows aren't pitch black (just look at the picture). That is where they get their 10% from - ambient light. There is also infrared which is plentiful in what we perceive as shadows and which some solar cell types can make use of.
The sun moves in the sky. It is nearly impossible to manufacture a solar array that is oriented to produce full shadows all day long on the ground it covers. (You could only get that if you laid it all flat out on the ground - and in that case your front solar panels aren't oriented optimally towards the sun)
javjav
5 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2012
Normal mirrors are much cheaper than solar panels. wouldn't it provide a cheaper price per watt to mount small solar panel (using highly efficient material but a few amount of it) on the focus point of a parabolic mirror (made of cheap material but much bigger)? I mean in a similar structure as they do with telescopes. Then, the double side panel would make a lot of sense.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2012
wouldn't it provide a cheaper price per watt to mount small solar panel (using highly efficient material but a few amount of it) on the focus point of a parabolic mirror

That is cheaper (and there are concentrator systems on the market). The problem with this is that PV cells tend to not work well at high temperatures (and they also degrade a lot faster)

But basically the cost of PV panels has come so far down in the past few years that the highest cost factor is installation.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Jul 08, 2012
The problem with this is that PV cells tend to not work well at high temperatures (and they also degrade a lot faster)


I saw a YouTube video where a guy shows an increase in output when a solar cell is immersed in water in a fish tank.Perhaps cells in concentrator systems could be water cooled to keep efficiencies up while limiting degradation from heat.