A solar panel is typically made up of lots of silicon cells that together form a circuit. The electrons zip through the panels to create electricity in a very efficient manner. But what if scientists could create the same efficiency in a different material that was cheaper?
Fei Yu, a University of Cincinnati doctoral student in materials engineering, is studying how to make polymer solar cells more efficient. Right now their performance is well below the most efficient silicon solar panels.
Plans for more solar on city building rooftops in Cincinnati are looking up this year.
Director of the Office of Environment and Sustainability Larry Falkin says the city laid low in 2013 because the value of renewable energy credits was down and some state programs expired. "We think we're back in a situation where the economics work now and we have projects that we're working on and we hope to be able to announce them in the near future."
Falkin says the announcement could come in the next two to three months.
A new report sings the praises of solar in Cincinnati.
The group Environment Ohio hopes Cincinnati follows the lead of such solar giants as Ann Arbor, Phoenix and Toledo. Co-author of the new report, called Building a Solar Cincinnati, Christian Adams, wants the city to get 10% of its energy from solar by 2030. He says certain barriers remain like up front cost but suggests third-party financing.