A team of researchers, being inspired by a Mars rover mission that was conducted fifteen years ago are revamping a new technique in order to produce efficient and cheaper solar cells. Several scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory are hoping to refine a new technique, which is called as hydride vapor phase epitaxy in order to produce more efficient, cheaper solar cells that are capable of producing more electricity.
In the year 2003, NASA had sent rovers to Mars that relied Gallium indium phosphide (GaInP) and gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar panels, which are about the size of a kitchen table and are further capable of converting around 27 percent of sunlight into electricity. The Gallium indium phosphide (GaInP) and gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar panels, which comprises semiconductors made from those and are similar elements and further collectively called as III-V solar cells that are extremely expensive and efficient.
On the other hand, in order to make use of the same technology on Earth, where the average rooftop solar panel is around 15 percent efficient, the costs would be substantial. Senior scientists state that only one can buy gallium arsenide cells, if the person is willing to pay around $100 to $300 a watt. III-V solar cells are presently produced making use of a process that a called metal organic vapor phase epitaxy, which further deposits the elements by layer atop a semiconductor wafer in a very much time consuming process. The new process, HVPE is a simple process that makes use of a single chamber where one chemical is deposited on a substrate, which was then removed.