A new type of material could allow solar cells to harvest far more light.
According to StarSolar's website, the biggest problem facing solar power today is the high cost of solar electricity compared to conventional sources. StarSolar's patent-protected technology solves this problem by significantly increasing the efficiency of solar cells, which is the single biggest driver in solar cost reduction. These improvements are achieved through innovative light trapping technology that enhances infrared light absorption by a factor of seven, thus increasing overall power generation by 37%.
Technology Review, March 21, 2007 -- ... The effort uses a type of material called a photonic crystal that makes it possible to "do things with light that have never been done before," says John Joannopoulos, a professor of physics at MIT who heads the lab where the new designs for solar applications were developed. ...
But StarSolar needs to choose a large-scale manufacturing technique that will allow it to produce the photon crystals inexpensively. More