The NREL scientists produced a six-junction solar cell, combining sandwiching multiple layers of materials that were fine-tuned to convert different portions of the light spectrum into electricity. While the layered solar cell design will almost certainly be cost prohibitive to produce at commercial scale compared to conventional silicon cells, it may find use in more niche applications, the NREL team said. Generally, the super high-efficiency solar cells are limited for use in spacecraft and satellites, where performance, space and weight are a premium. However, the researchers highlight that cells with such high conversion efficiencies would be ideally used in concentrated solar plants.
The researchers trialled their nearly 50 pct efficient solar cells with concentrated sunlight, producing the equivalent of 143 suns of solar intensity.
Using unconcentrated light, the six-junction solar cells were able to achieve a conversion efficiency of 39.2 pct, which was also a new world record.
(Source: NREL,PR, 14 April, 2020)
Contact: NREL, John Geisz, Research Scientist, 303-384-6474, John.Geisz@nrel.gov, www.enrel.gov
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