Nanotech Improves Solar Panels
A breakthrough in nanotechnology by researchers at Boston College and MIT could lead to increased economic interest in solar panels. Researchers have improved the efficiency of solar-thermal flat panels by seven to eight times using nanonstructured thermoelectric materials to create a better light absorbing surface. The material was then placed within an energy-trapping, vacuum-sealed flat panel.
The combination of these two changes resulted in the improved overall efficiency of electricity production, and opens the door to expanding the technology's economic potential. Another exciting advance is the development of a flat panel hybrid that is capable of generating hot water and electricity in the same system. The ability of this new technology to generate electricity by improving existing technology at a minimal expense makes it an appealing option from a cost standpoint.