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Published on January 20th, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz


German Researchers Break Solar Cell Efficiency Record

January 20th, 2009 by  

A new year, a new solar cell efficiency record is broken. German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems have built a solar cell with 41.1% efficiency, besting the previous record of 40.8% efficiency set by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The three-layer gallium-indium-phosphide, gallium-indium-arsenide, and germanium cell broke the record when researchers concentrated sunlight onto it 454 times.

The cell’s materials are expensive compared to silicon, but are significantly more efficient. This makes the Fraunhofer metamorphic triple-junction cell a candidate for concentrated solar installations, which require fewer materials than traditional installations.

Companies currently working on concentrated solar installations include SolFocus and Concentrix.

Photo Credit: Fraunhofer ISE


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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.

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