We’ve been covering a lot of advancements in the area of photovoltaic [PV] solar power, from how long solar panels last, decades that is, to breaking the efficiency barrier, which has stood at 18.6% for the last ten years. Some prototype panels have boasted higher efficiency values, up to 44% in the case of a multi-junction layered PV solar panel developed by the NREL. Efficiency is not a huge problem, but imagine how much more clean energy we could produce if solar panels were more efficient?
Japanese PV solar panel manufacturer Solar Frontier, sells about 900MW of 13% PV cells every year, but this hasn’t prevented them from looking to improve their product. In collaboration with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Solar Frontier has developed a new PV cell without rare-earth cadmium, which can be easily mass-produced, even as a thin-film deposit. On top of all this, the new cells have a record 19.7% efficiency converting sunlight to electricity.
According to Solar Frontier, their “thin-film modules currently available from Solar Frontier have gained a reputation for high performance in actual power generation, as they are not easily affected by shadows or high temperatures,” said Satoru Kuriyagawa in a statement announcing the result. “Now, even higher real-world performance can be expected by applying this new basic technology.”