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Graphene to help boost solar power panel efficiency

As the market looks for increasingly efficient solar panels, one of science’s wonder materials is on the way to help. Graphene is a layer of graphite, the same stuff you find in “lead” pencils. It is constructed of neat hexagonal arrays of a single layer of carbon atoms and is highly conductive.

So far, graphene has only made it as far as stronger bike tyres with better grip, for the public to buy. In laboratories around the world, scientists are still hard at work trying to use graphene in semiconductors, batteries and solar cells to untilise their astonishingly conductive properties, their flexibility and their cheap-to-produce nature in new generations of wonder materials.

Photovoltaic solar cells need conductive layers that can let the light get through, which is where graphene’s excellent conductivity and transparency comes into play. However, while a great conductor, graphene is not ideal for collecting an electrical current produced inside the solar cell. So, the laboratories are working to find better ways to modify graphene or link it to other chemicals with more suitable properties. So far, graphene oxide (GO) seems to be a leading candidate as it loses some conductivity but collects more charge, making it better for solar panels.

The solar panel industry sees efficiency creep up in tenths of a percentage point a year, so if you buy panels now, you won’t suddenly be missing out a few years down the line. Get in touch and see how we can help you save money on your electricity bill and get cash back by providing spare power to the grid. We provide solar power systems for home and business roofs as well as land mount, and can custom build the perfect system for your location.

Despite the rise in popularity, the government continues to cut down on the Feed in Tariff (FiT), which provides rebates for your unused power. Buying now means you should continue to benefit before it goes even lower. Get in touch to find out how we can help, and explain how solar power could benefit your home, business and balance sheet.