Australian Researchers Set New Solar Cell Efficiency Record With 34.5 Percent

Posted: May 18 2016, 2:55am CDT | by , in News | Technology News

Australian Researchers Set New Solar Cell Efficiency Record with 34.5 Percent
Dr Mark Keevers with one of the spectrum splitting, four-junction mini-modules developed at UNSW.

Australian researchers have created a device that has set a new world record for solar efficiency, the media reported on Wednesday.

The device traps light through a simple prism, which dramatically bolsters the efficiency of solar cells, Xinhua news agency reported.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Martin Green and Mark Keevers said the device extracts the maximum energy from sunlight, using a hybrid four-junction receiver to squeeze even more electricity from each beam of sunlight.

"This encouraging result shows there are still advances to come in photovoltaics research to make solar cells even more efficient," said Keevers.

"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."

The pair set a new world record for sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency at 34.5 percent.

"What's remarkable is that this level of efficiency had not been expected for many years," said Green.

"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 unconcentrated sunlight, such as the standard ones on family homes."

The efficiency of commercially available solar panels is said to range between 14 to 22 percent.

"So things are moving faster in solar cell efficiency than many experts expected, and that's good news for solar energy," Green added.

"But we must maintain the pace of photovoltaic research in Australia to ensure that we not only build on such tremendous results, but continue to bring benefits back to Australia."

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