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17 November 2008


Sunovia and EPIR down-convert UV to visible light in transparent glass for enhanced PV efficiencies

Sunovia Energy Technologies Inc of Sarasota, FL, USA, which is commercializing cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells, and EPIR Technologies Inc of Bolingbrook, IL, USA (in which Sunovia has a stake) have announced the demonstration of optical down-conversion to convert the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light into visible light (which can be used more effectively by solar cells). Much of the energy from UV light that is normally wasted can now be converted into electricity, making the overall solar cell system more energy efficient, say the firms. Optical down-conversion will play a unique role in the commercialization of their high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) cells, they add.

Sunovia and EPIR have demonstrated the down-conversion in glass ceramic materials incorporating crystalline nanoparticles that contain a rare-earth ion which makes them transparent to visible light. This creates a top layer suited to solar cells that are typically covered with a sheet of glass. The glass ceramic material is also instrumental in safeguarding efficiency by minimizing energy loss due to heat. The down-conversion technology is also compatible with nearly all types of rigid solar cells on the market, the firms claim.

The demonstration was accomplished at EPIR by Dr Jacqueline Johnson (now a professor at the University of Tennessee) in a program sponsored by the US Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate under the direction of program monitor Dr Paul E. Hausgen.

See related items:

Sunovia and EPIR collaborating with ETH Zurich on CdTe solar cells

Sunovia and EPIR complete Phase I solar cell and IR plant

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