Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Enough records to go around

It's easy to achieve world record solar performance. You just have to define your niche properly. The following records were all announced recently:

  • Most efficient solar cell: a five-junction concentrator device from the University of New South Wales. 43% efficient.

  • Most efficient triple-junction cell: a concentrator cell from SpectroLab. 41.6% efficient.

  • Most efficient screen-printed monocrystalline silicon production cell: more than 18% efficient, from Suniva. The "screen-printed" qualifier is important, as SunPower's non-screen-printed production cells top 20%.

  • Most efficient multicrystalline silicon panels: 15.6% efficiency, achieved by Suntech Power. Though this is a lower number than the other records, it's actually pretty interesting. It's for a complete panel, not a cell, and beats Sandia's longstanding record.

Update: But wait, there's more! I missed this one...

  • Most efficient flexible CdTe cell. 12.4%, achieved by a group in Switzerland. This one is important because it uses a low temperature process, compatible with roll-to-roll processing.

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