Record Breaking Solar Cell Efficiency of 44% Achieved at NREL

solarjunctionhighefficiencypv.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smartThe world record for energy efficiency of photovoltaic cells has been broken again. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), together with their partner Solar Junction, reported the incredible 44% efficiency achieved through improvement of the already existing multi-junction PV cells.

The layered semiconductors used in the cells were previously optimized to capture various wavelengths of light.  Now these are combined with low-cost concentrating lenses, allowing multiplication of the intensity of the incoming solar energy that hits the cells.

It was only last year, when the record was broken by a team at NREL and Solar Junction with their SJ3 cells, designed for utility-scale concentrated solar photovoltaic projects. The estimated conversion rate of these cells was 43.5% at 415 suns. It is not long later that the guys managed to raise the bar to 44% at 947 suns with their latest invention.

The ultimate aim of NREL is to reach the 50% efficiency benchmark in the very near future.

Daniel Friedman, manager of the NREL III-V Multijunction Photovoltaics Group points out that the partnership with Solar Junction was what turned the lab invention into a huge commercial success.

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