Background: Stanford researchers at the Fan Group have developed a novel method of passively cooling solar cells via a radiative cooling mechanism. The pyramid structures made of silica glass (shown in image below) provide maximal radiative cooling capability. Technology Description: We have developed a way of passively cooling solar cells that are exposed to the sun and hence heat up via a radiative cooling mechanism. This is an enormously important issue since solar cells operate at high temperatures which degrade both their efficiency and long-term durability. By allowing the panel to passively cheaply operate at a lower temperature via radiative cooling this invention enables the enhanced efficiency of all existing solar cells. The new approach inexpensively lowers the operating temperature of solar cells significantly improves energy conversion efficiency and increases the lifespan of solar cells. This invention overcomes the current challenge of inexpensively keeping solar cells cool and can help improve the adoption of current solar technology. Applications: 1) Photovoltaics and more generally semiconductors/metals that are located outdoors. 2) Photovoltaic panels located in space where radiative cooling is the only cooling mechanism.
1) Low cost low energy method - does not need expensive ventilation or coolants to cool solar cells 2) Increases efficiency of solar cells 3) Can be added to existing design elements 4) Can help extend life of solar cells