Concentrator solar cell with world's highest conversion efficiency of 44.4%

Jun 14, 2013
Concentrator solar cell with world's highest conversion efficiency of 44.4%
Concentrator Solar Cell with World's Highest Conversion Efficiency of 44.4%.

Sharp Corporation has achieved the world's highest solar cell conversion efficiency of 44.4%, using a concentrator triple-junction compound solar cell. These solar cells are used in a lens-based concentrator system that focuses sunlight on the cells to generate electricity.

This latest Sharp breakthrough came about through efforts that are part of the "R&D on Innovative " project promoted by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Measurement of the value—which sets a record for the world's highest concentrating conversion efficiency—was confirmed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Germany.

Compound solar cells typically offer high conversion efficiency while utilizing photo-absorption layers made from compounds of multiple elements, such as indium and gallium. Sharp's concentrator triple-junction compound solar cells use a proprietary technology that enables the efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity by means of a stack of three photo-absorption layers, the bottommost of which is made from InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide).

To achieve a concentrating conversion efficiency of 44.4%, Sharp worked to widen the effective concentrator cell surface and ensure uniformity of width at the interface of the connecting concentrator cell and electrodes.

Because of their high , compound solar cells have thus far been used primarily on space satellites. Looking to the future, Sharp aims to harness this latest development success and make the use of compound solar cells more feasible in terrestrial applications.

Explore further: Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

Related Stories

High efficiency concentrator solar cells and modules

May 19, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Solar energy will play a crucial role in the energy mix of tomorrow as solar energy is available in unlimited quantities. With the aid of concentrator solar cells, even more sunlight can be ...

Recommended for you

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

16 hours ago

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

18 hours ago

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

Simulation models optimize water power

19 hours ago

The Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest offers great potential for water power; hydroelectric power stations there generate over 20 000 megawatts already. Now a simulation model will help optimize the operation ...

Charging electric cars efficiently inductive

19 hours ago

We already charge our toothbrushes and cellphones using contactless technology. Researchers have developed a particularly efficient and cost-effective method that means electric cars could soon follow suit.

User comments : 12

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fmfbrestel
not rated yet Jun 14, 2013
I wish they would have posted the level of concentration needed for the 44.4%. Usually pretty standard info for these releases, and there isn't even a link for more info... Gonna force me to "something it"

Edit -- Found it. 302 suns concentration. Not bad. It it gets too high you start having problems with too much system heat.
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2013
I wish they would have posted the level of concentration needed for the 44.4%.
It's usually "as much as we can manage to cool it"... Apparently it doesn't play a role for solar cells designed for microelectronics.


Well they list a timeline of breakthroughs on their website, and they had one in the 30% range a while back under 1000 suns magnification. Since I doubt their cooling equipment got worse, I would assume that a drop to 302 magnification is indicative of an improved design. (less concentration needed leads to less total system cost, even if you do have to buy a few more chips)
Kedas
not rated yet Jun 14, 2013
May 31, 2012: 43.5%
Dec 5 , 2012: 37.7%
Now , 2013: 44.4%

?

TheKnowItAll
1 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2013
I believe that the InGaAs layer is the infrared absorption layer so that explains the raise in conversion. anyway what they need to work on is the price, that is the only reason why not everyone has their roofs full of them. Hint: 10 cents/watt sounds good to me :)
El_Nose
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 14, 2013
@kedas

May 31 -- solar cell 5432d created and tested locally
Dec 5 -- solar cell independently verified at slightly lower rating
-- back to drawing board - y did it test lower somewhere else ??
June 2013 - solar cell 5432e created tested locally & independently verified

model numbers made up to protect the innocent
VendicarE
3.3 / 5 (4) Jun 16, 2013
You will lose around 7 percent on each optical surface. So the system conversion efficiency will be 14 percent lower overall.
arq
not rated yet Jun 16, 2013
Will we reach 50% this year??

(independently verified of course)
ValeriaT
2 / 5 (4) Jun 16, 2013
You will lose around 7 percent on each optical surface. So the system conversion efficiency will be 14 percent lower overall.
It depends on its refractive index.
geokstr
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 16, 2013
Geez, 44% efficiency. Every week or so for the last 5 years there's a post here about efficiency gains of 20%, 10%, most efficient ever, 25%.

You'd think we'd be able to power our homes with a postage stamp sized solar cell by now, a veritable perpetual energy machine.

Oh, I forgot, either Exxon bought off the inventer, or just plain offed her, in no particular order.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2013
Will we reach 50% this year

Unlikely as we've seen the numers creep up by tenths of a percent over the past few years. Barring some fundamental paradigm shift in solar cell technology I'd guess the 50% mark is still a decade or so away.
RealScience
not rated yet Jun 17, 2013
You will lose around 7 percent on each optical surface. So the system conversion efficiency will be 14 percent lower overall.
It depends on its refractive index.

Yes, and also on whether anti-reflection coatings are used. These can typically reduce the penalty to 1% per surface for small surfaces (such as those under concentration), or, for larger area at lower per-area cost, ~2% per surface.

@Anti - my guesstimate is more like 5 years to reach 50%. Progress has been almost a percentage point per year with 3-junction cells, and 4-junction cells are just coming out which should enable slightly faster progress for a few years before they, too, start approaching their limits.

@Kedas - the last ~37% mark from Sharp was for 1-sun (for space program use), whereas the 40%+ marks are for cells under concentration.
TimBull
not rated yet Jun 20, 2013
44.4 percent?
Them lazy gits
Put me in charge. I'll get 50 percent out of them.
And I won't be putting up with any of this 300 suns cheating bollox either.