19.2.06

South Africa Pioneers New Solar Technology: "

SouthAfricansolartech.jpgA few days ago an article appeared in the Cape Argus of South Africa, proclaiming a breakthrough in solar power technology. We could not find a great deal of correlating reports, so will simply relay what what we found from just a few sources. Apparently the technology resulted from over 10 years of research, led by Professor Vivian Alberts of the University of Johannesburg. He and his team seem to have developed a flexible, thin, metal alloy that is ‘photo-responsive’. This alloy is said to result in panels with are only 5 micron thick (compared to a human hair at 20 microns, and silicon photovoltaic cells at 350 microns.) Earlier reports (in 2004) indicated the alloy was copper-indium(gallium)-diselenide (CIGS), with another article inferring the panels would have a useful life of about 20 years, with the energy in fabricating them recovered within the first 1-2 years of operation. And that the materials used could all be later recycled to make fresh cells. It is said that a standard family home would need around 30m/sq (‘(about the size of a living room’) of CIGS solar panels to meet all its electricity demands.


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(Via Treehugger.)



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