Magnifying Power of the Sun, Lowering Solar Cell Costs

John Davis

A California company has found a way to magnify the power of the sun and could end up cutting the cost of solar panels in half.

HyperSolar, Inc. is developing a breakthrough technology that actually magnifies the power of the sun, getting more energy into a solar cell and getting more energy out.

“The way we’re doing that is by using an inexpensive optical layer. We’re able to concentrate the sun and deliver more sunlight on to a solar cell,” explains Tim Young, the CEO of HyperSolar.

Young goes on to point out that most of the work in making solar more affordable has focused on solar cell efficiency. He says HyperSolar is taking a different approach using microfiber optics that take the cell’s efficiency out of the equation. Young admits it’s a tricky process, but if it works, they’ll be able to reduce the amount of solar cells needed to produce the same amount of electricity.

“Our goal is to reduce the amount of silicon that goes into that solar module (which makes up) 80 to 95 percent of the price of a solar module.” Young says they could end up reducing the cost of a solar array by 40 to 45 percent, bringing the cost of solar down to grid parity and making the power of the sun on par with conventional energy production methods.

Young says the biggest challenges still facing HyperSolar are making sure the materials and process are cheaper than using silicon and producing the magnifying layer able to stand up to the constant rays of the sun.

He says they’re still in the prototype stage and hope to have their product on the market within the next 12 months.

You can hear more of my conversation with Young here: Tim Young, HyperSolar

Audio, Solar