The Dezeen guide to solar power - architecture and design

The Dezeen guide to solar power



This Dezeen guide to solar power, which forms part of ourSolar Revolution series, explains the different types of photovoltaics from the well-established to the more experimental.
Solar is a clean, renewable and relatively cheap source of energy that is expected to become more widely adopted as the world weans itself off fossil fuels.
Often when people talk about solar power they are referring to the photovoltaic process by which the sun's rays are captured and transformed into electricity.

Read: "Now is the time to design a solar future"

Particles of light, called photons, strike a semiconductor surface causing its atoms to release electrons and thereby creating an electric current.
Solar cells containing semiconductor materials are what capture the sun's energy in this way, but there are multiple different types. Here is an explainer of the various kinds of solar cell technology, which has been put together in collaboration with Theo Hobson, a postdoctoral researcher in solar physics at the University of Liverpool:

Photo by Didier Boy de la Tour
Silicon
Silicon-based solar cells are by far the most prevalent, making up around 95 per cent of the commercial photovoltaics market.
They are made using crystalline silicon derived from sand, though they also require some rarer elements like silver.
Silicon solar cells are currently the most efficient solar cells available, turning about 24 per cent of the energy from ...
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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2008 by Frank Gehry

Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences / HPP + ASTOC

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