Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed thin-film, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) that achieve efficiency rates of 15 percent, putting them on par with conventional silicon-based cells that are used in commercially available photovoltaic panels (PV). The school announced in a press release on its website that the researchers were able to raise the efficiency of DSSCs using a special process for producing the dye that makes these cells useful in low light and cloudy conditions.

DSSCs have several advantages over conventional silicon cells. They’re lighter, are mechanically sound, do not need the protection of a piece of glass and do not deteriorate over time. However, until recently, they were also less efficient that normal solar cells. A typical silicon cell will convert 15 to 20 percent of the sunlight that hits it into direct current electricity, though some technologies show promise of offering efficiency rates closer to 40 percent.

Another advantage of DSSCs is that they have a lower cost than typical silicon cells. If these new cells become commercially available, Bay Area solar installers will be able to integrate them into rooftop systems and make them more inexpensive for residents who had previously been unable to afford going solar.

Something to remember is that you don’t need to wait for these cells to become available to take advantage of the financial benefits of solar energy. The systems currently available will help you lower your utility costs and reliance on fossil fuel electricity sources. For more information, contact West Coast Solar today.