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The University of Southampton

Research project: Reducing the cost of crystalline silicon solar cells by using fluorescent collectors

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Solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity.  They are often used to power calculators and watches.  They are made of semiconducting materials, often silicon - the same material as used in computer chips.  At the present time solar cells are more expensive than traditional fossil fuel energy and this is often a reason cited as to why they are not more widely used.

One way to make solar cells less expensive is to integrate photovoltaic modules into the fabric of the building, this brings the marginal cost of the photovoltaic energy to a minium.  Fluorescent collectors are particularly effective.  In a fluorescent collector the dyes absorb radiation and emit light with a longer wavelength.  Most of the emitted light is reflected internally and therefore trapped and guided to the sides of the concentrator where it is directed to the solar cells.  The fluorescent collectors are cheaper than solar cells so a mix of the two creates an inexpensive but still effective solution. 

Conferences and events associated with this project:

A fluorescent collector
A fluorescent collector
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