Solar Cell Sets World Efficiency Record
We all want to get rid of our dependency on fossil fuels and their side effects. Alternative sources of energy seems clean and green but they have a poor conversion rate which makes some people extra cynical about the viability of renewable energy. But researchers at U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have set a world record in solar cell efficiency. This photovoltaic mechanism transforms 40.8 percent of the light that goes through it into energy. This is the highest confirmed efficiency of any photovoltaic device to date.
NREL’s Mark Wanlass is the person behind the invention of original inverted cell. This design was awarded the R&D 100 award. His design was improved upon by a team under the leadership of John Geisz. The material properties of the mismatched semiconductors allows for superior potential conversion of sunlight.
This new solar cell is using the constituents of gallium indium phosphide and gallium indium arsenide for splitting the solar spectrum into three equal parts. These spectrums of light are absorbed by cell’s three junctions for better potential effectiveness. This system is extremely thin and light, factors that contribute to the efficiency of the solar cells. These cells have better performance, design, operation and costs.
This photovoltaic device is meant for space satellites and for terrestrial concentrated photovoltaic arrays which use mirrors or lenses to focus sunlight onto the solar cells. The 40.8 percent efficiency was calculated under the concentrated light of 326 suns. One sun is equivalent to the quantity of light that naturally strikes Earth on a bright day. This high efficiency solar cell is designed, fabricated and independently measured at NREL.