Why you can’t compare apples and oranges

In today’s Newcastle Herald newspaper our blogger Dr Greg Wilson appeared in an article about our cool next generation solar cells made from dyes. We’ve previously shown you how they are made. Greg’s also holding one in the picture below.

We are developing dye-sensitised solar cells (DSC) that can be integrated into the walls, windows and roof top materials of buildings. They need to cover a much larger area to generate the same amount of electricity as the common silicon photovoltaic panel. We can make our DSC pretty colours; one day bill boards and signs might also be made of them (how cool!).

CSIRO EnCntr 202_Greg Wilson_dye cells landscape2

Solar@CSIRO blogger, Greg Wilson holding a dye-sensitised solar cell at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle. In the background you can see an entire wall made up of the cells. This installation was the largest of its kind back in 2003 when the Centre was built, and we have certainly learned a lot since then!

If you read the Newcastle Herald article and want to know a bit more, read on.

From Greg: “…it is not as easy as comparing apples with apples. Like all products, silicon solar cells come in a variety of models – these may range from low cost, compact, 5 Watt (W) modules all the way through to higher cost, high performance, modules in the 200+W range.

The product we are developing is for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) where one type of ‘product’ may be a type of solar glass window with a target of 80W output from the window under Standard Temperature Conditions (STC) of 25C.  On a hot day, the surface temperature of a PV module can be much higher than the air temperature, perhaps up to 60C.  The output of an 80W silicon module would drop from 80W to 69W as the temperature increased while a DSC module output could increase to 88W for the same temperature change under ideal conditions

The silicon PV modules have a negative temperature coefficient whereas organic solar cells like dye-sensitised solar cells or organic PV experience positive temperature coefficients.   Of course other factors such as price, availability and module lifetime also have to be considered in making the final technical selection.

Greg has also chatted about the topic on our CSIRO facebook page. Why not become a fan and join the conversation?

2 Comments on “Why you can’t compare apples and oranges”

  1. Darryl Dilger says:

    SOunds very exciting!

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