The last few years have been exciting and rewarding ones for investors who dabble in solar energy. With panel manufacturers, inverter designers, and storage battery specialists all delivering plenty of interesting news, the potential for solar power generation has never been higher. At the same time, many of these developments have been of largely expected and predictable sorts, leaving some investors to suppose that most of the real breakthroughs have already been made. As a report sourced from this writer makes clear, however, there are some discoveries of potentially fundamental impact that are still being pursued.
For decades now, solar panel manufacturers have done an excellent job of helping their creations turn more of the available light into electricity. While the steadily advancing efficiency figures of years past cannot be counted upon to persist far into the future, a tremendous amount of progress has already been made. Most of these advances have been secured through the pursuit of ways of extending the range of light frequencies which particular panel formulations can capture and convert. Some researchers, on the other hand, have recently begun exploring an exciting new possibility of another kind.
Every attempt to endow a given panel design with the ability to process a wider spectrum of light, it seems, results in early setbacks that are only slowly overcome thereafter. Instead of heading down this generally fraught path, researchers in California have therefore been pursuing an approach of a very different sort. Rather than giving a particular type of panel the ability to turn light of normally overlooked frequencies directly into electricity, these researchers have been exploring ways of changing the spectral content of that light.
In particular, they have identified means of changing infrared light, a frequency band that is normally not captured by panels at all, into visible light that lines up right in the middle of the most efficient spectrum for photovoltaic conversion. Should they succeed at doing so, the researchers could turn well understood panel designs into far more efficient ones virtually overnight. In addition to avoiding the setbacks that are so typical of the pursuit of wider spectral applicability, this approach could lead to the conversion of frequencies of light that lie far outside of the usually accepted bounds.