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On May 31, 2012 08:12AM ET in Clean Technology
Sharp has developed solar cells that match the concentrator solar cell efficiency world record set by Solar Junction last year. The technology’s staggering 43.5% efficiency from a triple-junction compound solar cell is 1.2% higher than the efficiency of the cells holding the record before March of 2011 (when Solar Junction busted that record).
The conversion efficiency was actually confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy in April 2012 (for some reason, these companies and researchers don’t let us know about the new records for months sometimes).
“Compound solar cells utilize photo-absorption layers made from compounds consisting of two or more elements, such as indium and gallium,” Sharp writes. “The basic structure of this latest triple-junction compound solar cell uses Sharp’s proprietary technology that enables efficient stacking of the three photo-absorption layers, with InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide) as the bottom layer.”
Sharps super-efficient solar cells capture sunlight via three photo-absorption layers and then convert it into electricity.
Two of the improvements that were made to achieve the new efficiency were “[optimizing] the spacing between electrodes on the surface of the concentrator cell and [minimizing] the cell’s electrical resistance.”
The work that led to the new efficiency was supported by the “R&D on Innovative Solar Cells” project, which has been promoted by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
Where’s all this leading? Hopefully, to solar systems so efficient that they are worth the extra cost and can compete with conventional solar cells in the solar market.
“Because of their high conversion efficiency, compound solar cells have been used primarily on space satellites. Sharp’s aim for the future is to apply this latest development success into concentrator photovoltaic power systems that can efficiently generate electricity using small-surface-area solar cells and make them practical for terrestrial use.”
Source & Images: Sharp
- Solar Junction Breaks Concentrated Solar World Record with 43.5% Efficiency
- Sharp Nails a Record 35.8% Solar Conversion Efficiency