Lab Sets Record for Solar Cell Efficiency

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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.

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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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