The most expensive solar panels, carefully designed and complex only reach 40% efficiency. That means that for every ray of sun that hits the panel, only 40% is converted into electricity.
Scientists believe that this is the most that the silicon solar panels can reach, so they are now seeking cheaper ways to do them rather than producing more efficient solar panels. But suddenly out of nowhere appears Steven Novack of the Idaho National Laboratory with a cheap and foldable solar panel that achieves efficiencies up to 80%.
The answer to this is in nanotechnology. The surface of the material is printed with nano antennae that capture infra-red light; those kinds of rays are present even in the evenings. TV antennas capture energy in very long waves. That is why to catch small waves they created very small antennas.
The material is very simple to create, and scientists are confident that the technology can be carried outside the lab. At the moment there is a big problem, it is not yet possible to transmit the energy that is created with this method.
This means the electrons that are generated when the nano antennas are exposed to the sun, are not yet able to catch them. But they are working on how to catch them. They think that putting a minicapacitor through each antenna may export the power generated in the solar panel to be useful, and thus have a high efficiency and a very low price for the new generation of panels.