The solar panel technology altering the renewables market

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For a long time, the solar panel market was dominated by China because of that country’s control of the silicon supply chain. But the solar-panel tides may be turning, as Japan has created a solar panel that does not use silicon and instead uses a mineral-created material called perovskite. The new panels have caught up to the efficiency of traditional solar panels and are opening the door for a upheaval in the global renewables market.

A new solar system

Solar panels have traditionally been made with silicon, over which China has had majority market control. Eager to limit China’s stranglehold over the solar market, countries have been searching for a different way to harness the sun. Now, Japanese engineers “believe they have found one in a type of solar cell that looks and feels like camera film,” according to The Wall Street Journal. The new cell uses perovskite, a crystalline structure formed by minerals that convert sunlight into electricity. The perovskite cell was invented by Japanese scientist and Toin University of Yokohama professor Tsutomu Miyasaka. Iodine is the key element used to manufacture the solar film, of which Japan is the world’s second largest producer. 

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