Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are using a grant from the Department of Energy to test the durability of a newer solar panel design.
The design, PERC, is able to put out more energy than standard crystalline silicon modules, lowering the cost for solar projects. Now, the university wants to know how long this design can last in real world conditions.
Roger French is the director for the school’s Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension Research Center.
“The concern is will it be as durable as the traditional silicon solar cells that everyone has gotten so used to. Even though it’s giving you more electricity in the beginning, you want to also make sure that its power output isn’t going to drop quickly after five years or ten years.”
The nearly $1-and-a-half million grant comes from the SunShot Initiative, which helps fund projects to improve solar energy technology and efficiency. The Trump administration has proposed making major cuts to the program.