Clean Power

Published on August 6th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


JA Solar Attains 18.3% Multicrystalline Solar Cell Efficiency Record

August 6th, 2013 by  

This article was first published on Solar Love under the title, “Multicrystalline Solar Cell Efficiency Record Set By JA Solar.”

record solar cell efficiency

JA Solar multicrystalline solar cell achieves record efficiency of 18.3%.

JA Solar has reported that it has achieved a record 18.3% efficiency for a standard 156×156 mm2 multicrystalline solar cell. This was verified by Yangzhou Opto-Electrical Products Testing Institute. This is twice as efficient as my solar panel.

Solar cell and solar panel efficiency isn’t as big an issue as some have made it out to be. However, efficiency improvements open new windows of opportunity, such as the ability to extend the battery life of portable electronics such as cellphones, tablet PCs, and laptops.

There is also the issue of cars and planes. Highly efficient solar panels could make solar-powered planes and solar-powered long-range electric cars much more feasible.

Solar-powered cars would charge in almost every parking lot during the day, and reduce the current required from the grid to charge as well, reducing the cost of charging and emissions, if the grid power in their area comes from fossil-fueled power plants.

In other words, the more efficient the solar panels that can be integrated into these devices, the more power they can generate.

Yong Liu, CTO of JA Solar, said: “The superior conversion efficiency we’ve achieved with our multi-Si cells and the rest of our product offering creates significant value for customers as it increases power generated per square foot and lowers installation cost per watt.”

JA Solar said that it intends to move its record solar cell from the R&D to the mainstream volume production stage. In respect to other tier 1 PV manufacturers, JA Solar was only ranked 11th in terms of R&D spending (US$13.9 million) in 2012.

For more solar records, check out: Solar Energy & Solar Power Facts

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • JamesWimberley

    “Solar cell and solar panel efficiency isn’t as big an issue as some have made it out to be.” I agree that it’s often raised in bad faith, with silly comparisons to the efficiency of gas turbines which burn a depleting, climate-busting, and scarce resource. But a half a percent efficiency gain on a mainstream multicrystalline PV cell is worth having. It’s half a percent gain in lifetime output and the same reduction in the panel part of the cost. This matters more than records in fancy high-end multijunction cells which will never get outside niche markets.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Moving from a 17.8% to 18.3% efficiency panel is a 2.8% improvement.

      A 2.8% more efficient panel means that 2.8% less glass and aluminum frame is needed for the same wattage. It means 2.8% less shipping, racking, real estate and labor. The BoS parts of a solar system.

      A small increase in efficiency makes for a larger system savings.

      • JamesWimberley

        My correction unfortunately crossed with your true comment, Bob.
        But I question whether the parts of the system other than the cells will see the same proportional improvement from the cell efficiency gain. Glass, encapsulants and back circuitry, yes, because they are simply proportional to area. Frames, mountings, inverters, cabling: less. Red tape: not at all.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Well, how about somewhere in the 1.5% to 2.8% range?

          I suspect red tape is going to become less a cost over time. Some states (Vermont, IIRC) have streamlined the permitting process. As subsidies disappear that will take a lot of the paperwork away.

          Yes, not inverters. Frames and racks should drop proportionately with increases in efficiency. Cable, not much.

Back to Top ↑