According to reports, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore for a project to be taken up by a Cusat research team. The project is part of developing low cost thin film solar cells using eco-friendly and abundantly available semi-conductor materials with the help of simple techniques.
The research group, consisting of K P Vijayakumar (physics department), P Sudha Kartha (Physics) and K Rajiv Kumar (instrumentation) is working on preparing thin film solar cells using “spray technique”. The technique is quite simple and good for large area deposition of films.
Sudha Kartha is also engaged in another research on recording of images on polymer film. A team from MNRE cleared the project after several visits to Cusat and the project was modified as per suggestions made by MNRE. The group has been given three years to complete the research work. According to Vijayakumar, head of the group, efforts will be made to complete it within this time. If the research is not completed, MRNE will be approached for getting it extended. This will also involve more investment, he said.
The centre would require sophisticated equipment from US, Japan or other developed countries. Due to absence of the machines, it now sends the samples to its collaborators in US and Japan. The research group has been working on thin film solar cells for the last 25 years. The group is developing solar cells without using Silicon. On completion of successful research, the MNRE will fund the development of the Centre for Alternate Energy Research which is involved in research and development of non-silicon thin film solar cells.
The centre was set up about a year ago. The development of thin film solar cells is still in its infancy and the country can take a lead if research begins now.