A German-French research team has created a solar cell that can convert 44.7% of the sunlight it receives into energy.
That’s a new world record (though as CleanTechnica points out some places measure efficiency differently).
According to a release from team co-leader the Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, the group created a solar unit made up of four solar cells stacked on top of one another.
The cells were made of nitrogen- and boron-based compounds that enjoy high conductivity or electron mobility — basically, it’s easier for charged particles to move through the cells.
That technology was originally used in space applications.
The team also came up with a new way of binding the cells that further increased efficiency:
“Besides improved materials and optimization of the structure, a new procedure called wafer bonding plays a central role. With this technology, we are able to connect two semiconductor crystals, which otherwise cannot be grown on top of each other with high crystal quality. In this way we can produce the optimal semiconductor combination to create the highest efficiency solar cells.”
The new cell would eventually be used in concentrated photovoltaic installations, which happens to be the fastest-growing type of solar power.
50 per cent efficiency is considered the holy grail within the solar world
Given this same team already had a world record of 43.6% in May before surpassing it with this new cell, that now seems to be within reach.