EF Solare Italia numbers technological innovation among its growth drivers and wants to be a driving force on its own for the whole national industry.


The photovoltaic industry keeps carrying on an intense research activity aimed at developing new technologies to increase electricity production from the solar source. The ambitious growth goals set by many governments, Italy included, for renewables, require that production efficiency increase on pair with new installations.

A factor on which many studies focus is, of course, that of photovoltaic cells, in particular on regard of the use of new additional materials: a joint research by Colorado State University and Loughborough University revealed that cadmium telluride thin-film solar cells is improved by the addition of selenium, while another research carried on by Australian and Chinese universities revealed that inserting potassium into perovskite cells allows them to become more stable, “healing” the flaws that a prolonged exposure to the Sun causes, thus making them more efficient as time goes by. Oxford PV, an Oxford University spin-off founded by physic Henry Snaith, established a new world record of 28% efficiency with a silicon-perovskite cell. New York University researchers developed a new solution to make organic solar cells more resistant to exposure to external agents.

Another field of interest for researchers is the reduction of the solar plants environmental impact, in line with the sustainability philosophy on which the renewable industry is built upon. CIEMAT, in Spain, is experimenting with the use of ultrasound to clean up the panel of its concentrated solar power plant in the Almeria desert, where sand abounds but water is scarce.

There are then experimental technologies with a strong innovation component, such as the one developed by Arizona State University, where researchers developed nano-antennas with colour pigments assembled over DNA strains that imitate the photosynthesis process: in the future, they could be used to design new systems to generate solar power. At Stanford University, a team of scientists is busy experimenting a new solar panels-based technology to generate energy at night, through the temperature gap between Earth and space.

Another segment where photovoltaics research is doing good is e-mobility, as we move forward the electrification of transportation energy consumptions. The prototype of the first solar electric vehicle has bee unveiled in the Netherlands last June, while the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has announced that by 2021 its whole underground network will be powered by solar energy. A special mention goes to Light Sail II, a solar sail that Planetary Society has launched in orbit on June 25th: if the mission is successful, it will be the firs space vehicle to be propelled exclusively by light particles from the Sun. A project that shows how sometimes sci-fi is just an anticipation of reality, like we told in one of our Stories.

EF Solare Italia, as the leading photovoltaic operator of the Country, numbers technological innovation among its growth drivers and wants to be a driving force on its own for the whole national industry.  For this purpose it has recently set up an Innovation & Technology Area, dedicated to research activities and lead by Matteo Riccieri.

Cover photo source: http://helioscsp.com