OSU Reports Solar Advance

Solar energy upgrades are likely to become increasingly affordable forhomeowners in the coming years, judging from increasingly efficient andadvanced products that are being researched around the world.

For example, Oregon State University recently announced that itsresearchers have developed a new technology that will help lower solarpanel costs while reducing material waste.

According to theuniversity, the new development involves continuous flow microreactorsthat are used to produce thin film absorbers in solar cells. Theannouncement noted that research has been performed in this area before, but that previous efforts required more time and potentially expensivematerials.

"If we could produce roofing products thatcost-effectively produced solar energy at the same time, that would be a game changer. Thin film solar cells are one way that might work. Allsolar applications are ultimately a function of efficiency, cost andenvironmental safety, and these products might offer all of that," saidChih-hung Chang, an OSU associate professor.

This and other types of solar energy research are helping the industry get closer to thelongstanding goal of becoming fully cost-competitive with fossil fuels.