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A green partnership that may benefit us all

 

Narrator:            This is Science Today. A team of engineers at UCLA have teamed up with private industry to develop polymer solar panels that are much more efficient than what's currently on the market. Yang Yang, a professor of materials science and engineering, says historically plastic, or polymer, solar cells were not very efficient. Their technology, however, may be able to reach 15 percent power conversion efficiency. Current silicon panels reach about 18 percent.

Yang:                  Fifteen percent power conversion efficiency means that the sunlight coming into the surface of our Earth and we're able to convert 15 percent of the photons of the light, the energy, into electricity. So, that is a critical number that we believe once we reach the number, we should be able to significantly bring down the cost of the solar electricity that competing or even lower than current electricity.

Narrator:            Their current panels reached 8 percent power conversion efficiency in about two years, so Yang says their target to reach 15 percent in a few more years is not unrealistic. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.