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September 19, 2008

Doing more with less: new slicing method cuts cost of germanium solar cells by 10%

Solar cells made from germanium are far more efficient than cells made from silicon. But germanium costs a lot more — about $90 for every four inch wafer. Now, scientists at the University of Utah have devised a new method that could cut this cost by 10%. So far germanium cells are primarily used for high-tech purposes such as satellites, but this new method, perhaps combined with other efficiencies, such as concentrators, could make germanium viable for other purposes while also cutting the cost of satellite construction.

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