Sharp Corporation of Japan announced that it has tested a new solar cell which achieves 37.7 per cent conversion efficiency. This, it says, “sets a new record for the world's highest conversion efficiency” and was confirmed as such by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).
As a result of a Japanese government sponsored research and development initiative Sharp scientists created “a triple-junction compound solar cell in which three photo-absorption layers are stacked together”. This type of cell can efficiently absorb sunlight from different wavelengths to convert into electricity. Sharp also worked on increasing each cell’s active area by “optimal processing of the cell edges”.
Triple-junction compound solar cell with the world's highest conversion efficiency of 37.7%
This world record figure is for non-concentrator solar cells at the research level. Sharp intends to apply this latest development to concentrator photovoltaic power systems (with the addition of concentrating lenses) to achieve even higher conversion efficiency figures. The new triple junction solar cell combined with lens concentrators should enable Sharp to exceed its previous record of 43.5 per cent efficiency.
Wavelength Distribution of Solar Photo-Energy and Wavelength Sensitivity of Triple-Junction Compound Solar Cell
Sharp foresees practical uses of these new cells in CPV(concentrator photovoltaic) power systems, space stations and vehicles. I foresee them powering all my computing devices, hot water tank and personal robot slave.