Friday, April 15, 2011 - Cell efficiency progress - Cell efficiency progress

Cell hits 43.5% as Solar Junction awaits DOE decision
15 Apr 2011
The start-up sets a world record for solar cell efficiency, but is waiting on a loan guarantee to turn that technology into a commercial reality.
Cell efficiency progress
Cell efficiency progress

Solar Junction, a start-up company developing multi-junction cells for concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), has set a new world record for cell efficiency, at 43.5%.

Confirmed by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the figure represents a significant improvement on the previous record of 42.3%, set by Spire Semiconductor last year. Just two months ago, Solar Junction announced that it had reached 41.4%. In terms of production cells available commercially, market leader Spectrolab is currently mass-producing cells with an average efficiency of 39.2%.

Multijunction concentrator cells (shown in purple, top line) are the most efficient photovoltaic components by far, but also the most expensive to produce. But because of the economics of CPV, a modest improvement in cell efficiency translates to a significant cut in the cost of solar electricity produced this way. Solar Junction's world record improves on Spire's previous best (not shown on this chart) by 1.2%, and maintains the roughly 1%-per-year improvement in multijunction cell performance seen over the past decade. Source: NREL.

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