British scientists study photovoltaic solar energy

Solar Daily, via UPI: British scientists led by Durham University are starting one of the United Kingdom’s largest research projects into photovoltaic solar energy. The $12.3 million, four-year PV-21 program is to focus on making thin-film light absorbing cells for solar panels from sustainable and affordable materials.

The project, which starts in April, involves researchers from eight U.K. universities: Durham, Bangor, Bath, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Northumbria, Southampton and Imperial College London. The scientists, along with nine industrial partners, will work toward a “medium- to long-term goal” of making solar energy more competitive and sustainable.

At present solar cells are made from key components such as the rare metal indium, which costs approximately $300 per pound. To cut costs, the researchers will work to reduce the thickness of the cells. The scientists said they will also experiment with the use of nanotechnology and dyes on ultra-thin silicon to capture increased amounts of energy from the sun’s rays.

The project is funded by Britain’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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