Sharp Breaks Solar Conversion Efficiency Record

Posted: Oct 23 2009, 11:51am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 5:01pm CDT, in News | Technology News

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Solar power isn't just some pie-in-the-sky power source that might be effective "some day". Right now, solar cells are cheap and effective enough to be useful in a wide variety of real world tasks. When I go camping, my solar panels keep my laptop and smartphone charged. When the power died at my house this summer, my neighbor's large solar array kept the lights on and the fans blowing. Solar power is cheap and effective now, and it's getting better every day.

By way of proof, you can check this report by Engadget on Sharp's most recent solar breakthrough. They've just sent out a press release announcing a new height in solar energy conversion efficiency. Their triple-junction compound cell just broke a world record by showing a 35.8% cell conversion efficiency. While this sort of solar technology is mainly used on satellites right now, it's only a matter of time before it trickles down into the consumer sector.

We're still a while away from solar power being a cheap and effective solution for most homes (and some areas will never get enough sunlight for that to be an option) but that day is getting closer all the time. The sun is the single greatest fuel source we have to play with. It's inevitable that we will eventually harness it for use in all sectors of life.

The benefits of solar energy on a global scale could be huge. Everyone who lives in a hot, sunny part of the world could one day power their homes entirely by photovoltaic roofs. Large solar arrays could fuel power plants that keep the lights on in entire municipalities. Thanks to the folks at Sharp, we could one day be living in a society with more green, cheap power than we know what to do with.

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