Natcore Technology scientists have created a black silicon solar cell with an average reflectance of 0.3%, making it the “blackest” solar cell ever designed. Compared to the most efficient solar cells currently on the market, Natcore’s development offers a tenfold decrease in reflectance over the solar spectrum. The result is an increase in energy efficiency that could help solar power compete even more effectively with traditional fossil fuels.
The whole mess has been enough to put the U.S. off concentrated solar power almost completely. Many solar thermal projects have been stalled or cancelled in light of Ivanpah's rocky start. While concentrated solar plants are still planned for other parts of the world, photovoltaic solar is winning out in the U.S. Here in the California desert what was once a beacon of hope for the future of energy now looks more like a glittery, glowing warning sign.