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Published on August 13th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

4

Lab Sets Record for Solar Cell Efficiency

August 13th, 2008 by  

solar cells

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the United States has announced that a new device developed by its scientists can convert 40.8 percent of light that hits it into electricity. This bests the previous record of 40.7 percent set by a different organization.

According to NREL spokesman George Douglas, the new device is both thinner and lighter than the previous model, which used a germanium wafer.

This solar cell, however, uses gallium indium phosphide and gallium indium arsenide to split light into 3 parts, each of which are then absorbed by the cell’s 3 layers.

The lab says that the new solar cell is an excellent candidate for concentrated photovoltaic arrays as well as space satellites.

While I haven’t seen anything mentioned about possible pricing, I can only assume that this technology will be unaffordable for most businesses and individuals for a long time to come.

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • Michael Sax

    Emcore already uses triple-junction cells commercially in a number of CPV systems. Emcore has already announced they will offer cost effective cells based on the new technology by mid-2009. They collaborated with NREL on this new cell.

  • Michael Sax

    Emcore already uses triple-junction cells commercially in a number of CPV systems. Emcore has already announced they will offer cost effective cells based on the new technology by mid-2009. They collaborated with NREL on this new cell.

  • solarweasel

    triple-junction cells have been around for a while now… and as you mentioned are not likely to be used by businesses/individuals due to the extremely high production cost (mainly throttled at the refining process) and fragility. space use, however, is a much more likely path for this technology.

  • solarweasel

    triple-junction cells have been around for a while now… and as you mentioned are not likely to be used by businesses/individuals due to the extremely high production cost (mainly throttled at the refining process) and fragility. space use, however, is a much more likely path for this technology.

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