New world record set in solar cell efficiency, for converting sunlight to electricity.
Australian scientists at the University of New South Wales, have edged closer to the theoretical limits of sunlight-to-electricity conversion by photovoltaic cells, with a device that sets a new world efficiency record.
Above: Dr. Keevers with the record-breaking cell. Credit: University of New South Wales
The new solar cell configuration, has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5%, establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device.
The record was set by Dr Mark Keevers and Professor Martin Green, Senior Research Fellow and Director, respectively, of UNSW’s Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, using a 28-cm2 four-junction mini-module – embedded in a prism – that extracts the maximum energy from sunlight. It does this by splitting the incoming rays into four bands, using a hybrid four-junction receiver to squeeze even more electricity from each beam of sunlight.
“This encouraging result shows that there are still advances to come in photovoltaics research to make solar cells even more efficient. Extracting more energy from every beam of sunlight is critical to reducing the cost of electricity generated by solar cells as it lowers the investment needed, and delivering payback faster.”