If Harry Potter were to design solar panels for Hogwarts, his invisibility cloak may come in handy. But rather than providing a sneaky hideout for the wizards, the cloak would conceal dead zones on solar cells.
Such a technology would redirect sunlight around non-light-absorbing areas to active spots, thereby increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic cells.
Conventional photovoltaic cells can transform approximately 20% of the sun’s incoming energy into usable power, while the other 80% is lost. Although several factors (e.g., temperature) can lower solar-cell efficiency, one particular problem involves so-called contact fingers. These metal strips, which cover about one-tenth of the surface area of solar cells and extract the electricity generated by the cells, reduce the area available to absorb sunlight...
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