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IBM Believes Its New Solar Cell Could Lower Power Prices in Future

CTZSS. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue as easily as CIGS, but IBM says that its new solar cell could potentially lower the price of solar power in the future.

The solar cell is made from copper, tin, zinc, sulfur and selenium, all of which are somewhat earth-abundant, according to IBM. The test cell achieves a 9.6 percent efficiency, or around 40 percent higher than the 6.7 percent ceiling achieved by other, earlier cells made from the same materials. (That’s a cross-section of IBM’s Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 compound and not a dental X-ray.)

Big Blue did not use vacuum chamber processes (the sort of equipment used for chip-making) to produce it. Instead, it deployed a solution-based approach. In mass production, that could mean producing cells through printing or dip and spray coating.

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