A group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created and developed a way to break the maximum efficiency of a solar cell called the Shockley-Queisser Limit according to a report by Engadget. The theoretical limit tops off around 32%, but that’s taking standard solar cell setups into account. The MT researchers and scientists switched it up and converted incoming sunlight to heat before power is produced by a specific panel.
The solar PVs take sunlight and pass it through an intermediary part that is made of nanophotonic crystals that output thermal radiation, which is something wasted using conventional means. From there, the radiation is then converted to the best-possible light wavelengths through an optical filter that a common solar cell use.
The MIT researchers said that this method that in the coming future, passing clouds or even total darkness will not affect the system’s ability in gathering and producing solar energy. The research team refers to this as unoptimised geometry, meaning that efficiency could go even higher than what is achieved during their experiment.
Image credit: MIT Research