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Solar Cell Efficiency World Record Set By Sharp — 44.4%

Editor’s Note: In May, Sharp regained the world’s triple-junction, non-concentrator solar cell efficiency record — 37.9%. Now, it has also taken the overall world solar cell efficiency record — 44.4%. Here’s another repost from Solar Love on the news.

A research team at Sharp Corporation has announced that it has created a solar cell capable of converting 44.4% of incoming sunlight into electricity. The solar cell is of the “concentrator triple-junction compound” type, which basically is a lens-based system that focuses sunlight.

The high conversion efficiencies that we see with compound solar cells are due to several photoabsorbing layers typically made from indium and gallium. Sharp’s record-setting solar cell uses three layers (InGaP top, GaAs middle, and InGaAs bottom), as you can see on the illustration below:

concentrator

Comparing to the best efficiencies of solar panels on the market today is not really fair, as these solar panels are cost-competitive. A better comparison would be against other research cells in NREL’s Best Research Cell Efficiencies.

The last record (44.0%) was set by the NREL III-V Multijunction Photovoltaics Group in November, 2012.

solar efficiency records

Compound solar cells are mostly used in space satellites where high conversion rates and good space-efficiency are more important than costs. Sharp is looking to use the technology of compound solar cells in terrestrial applications in the future.

 
 
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Written By

studies Energy and Environmental Engineering. In his spare time he writes about solar panels and other renewable energy technologies at Energy Informative. Connect with Mathias on Google+ or send him an email.

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