Dye-ing To Power Solar Cells in Africa
With many types of solar technology in development, it can be challenging to determine which is most effective.
The efficiently in which a solar cell can convert sunlight intousable energy is certainly crucial, but cost is also of greatimportance in today’s solar industry.
Technology like dye-sensitized solar cells offer a new, moreaffordable direction that is off to a good start thanks to companieslike Israel’s 3GSolar.
Dye-sensitized technology has several advantages. First, it does notuse silicone, which reduces its production and consumption costs byhalf and makes it more environmentally friendly.
Instead of silicone, dye technology consists of thin solar cells inwhich photoelectrons are provided from the heating of a photosensitivedye.
Companies like Israel’s 3GSolar are aiming to achieve around 7%efficiency in their cells, which is less than most Photovoltaic cells,but they have a significantly better efficiency to price ratios.
The reduced price for solar energy is certainly better forlow-income areas, the developing world, and increasing the sheer numberof solar structures in society as a whole.
3GSolar has been the main Israeli company focusing on dye-sensitizedtechnology, and a large part of their target market is the developingworld, and areas where there is currently no energy at all.
Powering African villages, at least with enough energy to use lightsat night, is one of the goals. As areas of the developing world willstart using more energy, it makes environmental (and now economic)sense to start them off with new solar systems rather than fossil fuelderived energy.
Dye-sensitized solar cellshave come a long way since their creation in 1991, and today they seemas though they could become a solid alternative energy option forbringing solar panels into society on a larger scale, and particularlyin the developing world.
See video of 3GSolar (formerly Orion) and their work in Senegal, here. Above picture of 3GSolar founder Dr. Jonathan Goldstein.
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