Solar cell engineers just smashed the world record for solar power
Australian engineers have taken us closer than ever before to the theoretical limits of sunlight-to-electricity conversion. They’ve built a solar cell that can harvest 34.5 percent of the sun’s energy without concentrators.
The previous solar cell record of twenty four percent was held by a very large solar cell produced by a US company. These new photovoltaic cells aren’t only more efficient, they also cover far less surface area. This means they’re going to make solar power even cheaper.
An excerpt from a recent Tech Insider article covering the solar cell record:
“This encouraging result shows that there are still advances to come in photovoltaics research to make solar cells even more efficient,” said one of the researchers, Mark Keevers, from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. “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.”
This UNSW team is the same one that set a new solar conversion record back in 2014, by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight and achieve 40 percent efficiency. But this new record is even more impressive, because it didn’t involve any concentration, and it was something engineers hadn’t expected to achieve for several decades.
“A recent study by Germany’s Agora Energiewende think tank set an aggressive target of 35 percent efficiency by 2050 for a module that uses un-concentrated sunlight, such as the standard ones on family homes,” said one of the researchers, Martin Green. “So things are moving faster in solar cell efficiency than many experts expected.”
SkySolar’s solar cell of choice
SkySolar are proud authorised distributors of Hyundai solar panels here in New Zealand. It’s great news that researchers are pushing the boundaries of solar cell efficiency. Hyundai are constantly innovating to achieve greater efficiencies from their panels, with a record breaking 19.7% efficiency achieved some years ago. Also a recent innovation called PERL (passivated emitter, rear locally diffused) being implemented is achieving a 21.4% efficiency. Needless to say we’re excited about their future products becoming better and better. We already consider them the best panel on the New Zealand market.