Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Solar Cell Efficency Record: 44.7%

Together with Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Record solar cell based on a new solar cell structure with four solar cell part. After little more than three years of research, a new record efficiency of 44.7 percent was measured at a 297-fold concentration of sunlight. This means that 44.7 percent of the total energy in the solar spectrum, is converted into electrical energy from ultraviolet light to longer wavelength thermal radiation. A significant step towards further cost reduction for solar power and on the way to 50 percent of the solar cell.
In May 2013, the Franco-German team of Fraunhofer ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin had published a solar cell with 43.6 percent efficiency. Following up led more intensive research and the optimization steps for the present world record of 44.7 percent.
Such solar cells are used in concentrator photovoltaic (CPV), a technology that enables the sunny regions of the world twice as efficient as conventional solar power plants. Coming from space technology, the use of so-called III-V multijunction solar cells has established in order to realize maximum efficiency in the conversion of sunlight into electricity. At multijunction multiple cells from different III-V semiconductor materials are stacked. The individual solar cells absorb different spectral ranges of sunlight.
"We are very happy and proud of our team working on this four-junction solar cell has been working for three years," says Dr. Frank Dimroth - department and project manager for the development project at Fraunhofer ISE. "This four-junction solar cell includes our many years of accumulated knowledge. In addition to improved material and optimized structure plays especially a new method, the wafer bonding, a central role. With this method we combine two semiconductor crystals with one another, do not fit to each other due to different crystal lattice. So we can make the optimum semiconductor combination for highly efficient solar cells. "
"This world record, which allowed us to increase our value by one percentage point in less than four months, the tremendous potential of our quadruple solar cell designs, based on the bonding technique and the experience of Soitec," says AndrĂ© Auberton-HervĂ©, CEO and CEO of Soitec. "It confirms the acceleration of our roadmap to higher efficiencies, a key factor for the competitiveness of our own CPV systems. We are very proud of this result, a proof of a successful cooperation "
"This new record reinforces our approach of bonding technique that we have developed within our collaboration with Soitec and the Fraunhofer ISE. We are very proud of this new result that confirms the chosen path of development of advanced process technology for solar cells made of III-V compound semiconductors, "so Leti CEO Laurent Malians.
Concentrator are sold by Soitec (started in 2005 under the name Concentrix Solar as a spin-off of the Fraunhofer ISE) produces. This highly efficient technology is used in solar power plants in sunny areas of the world with high direct solar radiation. Soitec has, concentrator power plants built in 18 countries, including Italy, France, South Africa, and California.

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