Sharp develops solar cell with world’s highest conversion efficiency

Nov 04, 2011
Structure of Triple-Junction Compound Solar Cell

Sharp Corporation has achieved the world’s highest solar cell conversion efficiency of 36.9% using a triple-junction compound solar cell in which the solar cell has a stacked three-layer structure.

Compound utilize photo-absorption layers made from compounds consisting of two or more elements, such as indium and gallium. Because of their high conversion efficiency, compound solar cells have been used primarily on space satellites.

Wavelength Distribution of Solar Photo-Energy and Wavelength Sensitivity of Triple-Junction Compound Solar Cell

Since 2000, has been pursuing research and development of a triple-junction compound solar cell that achieves high conversion efficiency by stacking three photo-absorption layers. In 2009, Sharp succeeded in improving cell conversion efficiency to 35.8% based on proprietary technology that enabled efficient fabrication of a stacked triple-layer structure with InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide) as the bottom layer.

This latest increase in conversion efficiency was achieved by improving the maximum power output of the solar cell by reducing the resistance of the junction areas necessary to connect the solar cell layers in series.

Sharp achieved this latest breakthrough as a result of a research and development initiative promoted by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)*3 on the theme of “R&D on Innovative Solar Cells.” Measurement of the value of 36.9%, which sets a new record for the world’s highest non-concentrating conversion efficiency, was confirmed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

In the future, processes for transferring ultra-thin photovoltaic layers onto film substrates will make lightweight, flexible solar cells possible. Sharp’s goal in the years to come is to take full advantage of this latest development success for use in concentrator-type solar cells, as well as for practical applications such as on space satellites and for flight craft and land vehicles.

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yoatmon
2.3 / 5 (4) Nov 04, 2011
Bull! Fraunhofer, Germany is accredited with a 41.2% efficient triple-layer PV-cell presented in the beginning of this year.
keithmc
5 / 5 (4) Nov 04, 2011
yoatmon: read more carefully "worlds highest non-concentrating conversion efficiency" -- non-concentrating --
"Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have achieved a record efficiency of 41.1% for the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Sunlight is concentrated by a factor of 454 and focused onto a small 5 mm² multi-junction solar cell made out of GaInP/GaInAs/ Ge (gallium indium phosphide, gallium indium arsenide on a germanium substrate)."
Roj
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 04, 2011
For those experiencing "Post-Purchase Dissidence", your existing solar investment is not obsolete, since new research must go thru production before distribution occurs.

Further, higher efficiencies may fail sooner during utility black outs, when grid-tied solar panels must be disconnected. Without energy storage or load switching, solar cells bake at highest potential voltages, testing design limits.

Get your grid-tied system switchable to other loads during black outs. Having blackout power available is better than an extra percentage point of cell efficiency.

Roger R. Owner/Operator
NoFixNoPay.info
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 04, 2011
NEDO is yet another Socialist Japanese government initiative to improve Japanese industry through improving the world.

I commend them.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2011
I want to move to japan, they are intelligent, but i hate them for the whaling though..