New Scientist

Solar cell efficiency up to 36%

Chapeau! Only problem: It’s darn expensive to produce them; no mass-production possible.

» New Scientist: “Spectrolab, a subsidiary of Boeing based in California, US, has created a photovoltaic cell capable of converting 36 per cent of the Sun’s rays into electricity. By contrast, ordinary existing solar cells are between 10 and 15 per cent energy efficient.

Solar power experts have welcomed the development, but point out that much work remains to be done before the Sun’s energy can be much more widely harnessed. In particular, the design used by Spectrolab is still relatively expensive to manufacture and it is not suitable for use in every location.

The company’s Improved Triple Junction concentrator cells focus the Sun’s rays to boost the energy received by the solar panel. Efficiency is further boosted by the use of multiple layers, each of which is capable of absorbing photons of different wavelengths.”

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