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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.

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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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.

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