Solar installation prices continue to fall as solar panel manufacturers add to the glut of solar panels on the market already.
The standard silicon-based solar panel is no more efficient than before, and there are just too many on the market to make a profit. Other technologies could make solar panels more efficient, but not without a significant investment and adding to the cost of manufacturing. One of these technologies, gallium arsenide nanowires, could increase solar panel efficiency by 25%. Again, the problem is with implementation, and standard nanowire production is complicated and expensive.
A startup in Sweden, Sol Voltaics, has developed a low-cost alternative to nanowire production, which it believes could be implemented for perhaps pennies per panel while realizing a 25% increase in solar panel efficiency. Instead of synthesizing gallium arsenide nanowires in a solid phase, Sol Voltaic’s aerotaxy process sythesizes the nanowires in a gas phase. The nanowires form in seconds and are then stored in a liquid matrix, forming an ink of sorts. The ink is then printed onto standard silicon-based solar panels, boosting their light absorption.