The Laboratory for Photovoltaics at the University of Luxembourg has recently devised a new method to observe the causes of and prevent solar cell degradation before solar cell production is even finished. This will have huge effects on the solar cell manufacturing industry because of how fast chemical damage to solar cells can happen, and the large costs such damage incurs.
Solar panels convert the sun’s light into electrical current through the use of solar cells, which are the generators responsible for the energy solar panels produce. A specific type of solar cells, thin film solar cells, possess a special coating that is what actually absorbs the sun’s energy — this film can be easily degraded during the solar panel production process though.
“A thin film solar cell is a stack of several layers. The main one is the layer that absorbs the light and transforms it into electricity. If these absorbers are not processed immediately they lose part of their ability to convert light energy,” says researcher David Regesch of the Laboratory for Photovoltaics, Physics Research Unit at the University of Luxembourg.