Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125 per cent, a new study says.
Researchers say the breakthrough could lead to the production of thinner, lighter and more flexible solar panels that could be used to power more homes and be used in a wider range of products.
The study — led by researchers from the University of York and conducted in partnership with NOVA University of Lisbon (CENIMAT-i3N) — investigated how different surface designs impacted on the absorption of sunlight in solar cells, which put together form solar panels.
Scientists found that the checkerboard design improved diffraction, which enhanced the probability of light being absorbed which is then used to create electricity.
The renewable energy sector is constantly looking for new ways to boost the light absorption of solar cells in lightweight materials that can be used in products from roof tiles to boat sails and camping equipment.
Solar grade silicon — used to create solar cells — is very energy intensive to produce, so creating slimmer cells and changing the surface design would make them cheaper and more environmentally friendly.