Photovoltaic (PV) solar electric systems are a growing clean energy alternative to traditional sources of electricity generation, such as coal-burning power plants. One of the biggest obstacles to the widespread deployment of PV systems is the fact that they are rarely cost competitive with traditional sources of electricity. High-efficiency concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar cells—which concentrate a large amount of sunlight onto a small area to generate electricity—can reduce the cost of PV systems.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
MicroLink Devices is developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells to capture concentrated sunlight in an effort to increase the amount of electricity generated by concentrating solar power plants. The continued growth of the CPV market depends strongly on continuing to reduce the cost of CPV solar cell technologies. MicroLink will make an all-lattice-matched solar cell that can achieve greater power conversion efficiency than conventional CPV technologies, thereby reducing the cost of generating electricity. In addition, MicroLink will use manufacturing techniques that allow for the reuse of expensive solar cell manufacturing templates to minimize costs. MicroLink’s innovative high-efficiency solar cell design has the potential to reduce PV electricity costs well below the cost of electricity from conventional non-concentrating PV modules.
If successful, MicroLink’s solar cells would achieve greater than 50% sunlight-to-electricity efficiency which would provide a significant technological lead for the U.S. in this area of energy generation.
Cost-effective solar energy would increase U.S. renewable energy use and help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Replacing energy systems powered by fossil fuels would provide an immediate decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, of which electricity generation accounts for over 40%.
Cost-effective renewable energy alternatives would reduce electricity rates for consumers in locales with renewable energy standards or greenhouse gas targets.