Mitsubishi Electric has announced a new breakthrough in thin-film solar cells efficiency. The company has been able to achieve an efficiency of 14.8% conversion. The more efficient a solar cell is at converting sunlight to power, the higher the electrical output of the cell.
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The new solar cells use a triple junction structure that uses the majority of the solar spectrum for higher efficiency. Thin-film silicon solar cells are gaining in popularity over crystalline cells because the TF cells use only 1% of the amount of silicon needed in crystalline panels.
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The greatly reduced silicon use makes the TF solar cells much cheaper to produce and cheaper for the end user to purchase. In the triple layer junction, the first layer absorbs short wavelengths; the third layer absorbs long wavelengths allowing the cells to use both visible and infrared light.