Nanocoating for solar cells increases efficiency

A newly-developed nano-engineered coating that can be applied to solar cells decreases reflectivity and allows the solar cell to use almost all of the sunlight hitting the surface--over 90% efficiency. In comparison, the best previous record for solar cell efficiency is about 60% utilization of light hitting the surface. The coating also allows cells to be mounted in a wider variety of orientations and still generate significant power.

While wind and solar technologies are improving, both have significant limitations. Solar panels don't generate any power at night, and wind turbines generate no power on windless days. Denmark, which generates a lot of power from wind turbines, had a stretch of 57 windless days that precipitated a nationwide power crisis. Long term, coal and nuclear power will have to continue to provide base load capacity in the U.S., and new, smaller nuclear reactor designs (less expensive and safer) will be a key part of reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

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