Steven Novack at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory said to UPI in Idaho Falls that the critical factor of this solar cell is their ability to gather infrared radiation and visible light. After the sun has gone down about half of the available energy in the spectrum of solar radiation is in the infrared band. The infrared band is re-emitted as heat by planet Earth’s surface, this means that the new solar cells can capture an amount of energy during the night he says.
Very important to note is that current solar cells can only produce only at their top output in a small range of conditions. For example, if the sun is in the wrong place, sunlight is reflected off a silicon solar cell instead of being absorbed to generate energy.
Novack has estimated that a complete system using the new solar cells would have an efficiency of 46 percent; by comparison the most current efficient silicon solar cells max out at around 25 percent and these new solar cells can absorb radiation at a multitude of angles, the researchers say.