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A breakthrough in solar panel technology means that the next generation of panels could generate almost a third more electricity.
Technology firm Oxford PV said that coating panels with a thin later of a crystal material called perovskite can increase panels’ power generation because the crystal is able to absorb different parts of the solar spectrum than traditional silicon.
An ordinary silicon solar cell can convert up to 22% of the available solar electricity but Oxford PV’s perovskite-on-silicon solar cell can reach a level of up to 27.3%, the company has claimed.
Oxford PV’s perovskite-coated panels will have a black tint allowing them to blend in more easily with rooftop slates.
“Silicon has reached its culmination of capability,” Dr Chris Case, Oxford PV’s chief technology officer told The Guardian. “From a performance standpoint it is at its efficiency limit. The perovskite material is something totally innovative for solar.”
The firm aims to start manufacturing the new panels by the end of the year and start selling them within the next year, a spokesman said.