U.S. Solar Firm Reclaims Lead in Extra-Terrestrial Solar Cells

A manufacturer of solar photovoltaic cells in California says it has recaptured its leadership position in the efficiency of solar cells for outer space.

CITY OF INDUSTRY, California, US, 2001-06-20 [] Tecstar Inc. says TEC 3i, its third generation multi-junction solar cell, has achieved an efficiency rating of 26.5 percent for large cells, and 86 percent end of power remaining. “TEC 3i offers solar array and satellite integrators a key enabling technology yielding satellite end-of-life performance and significant reductions in manufacturing costs previously unattainable in the market,” says president and CEO Tom Cadwell. The monolithic bypass diode provides superior solar performance and has demonstrated operation to 100,000 extreme shadow cycles. The TEC3i solar cell is the only triple junction cell delivered with a monolithic bypass diode for shadow protection, a feature that results in improved system yields and packing factor. “With the introduction of TEC 3i, we are offering our customers world leading performance combined with guaranteed cost reductions in dollar per watt now and for all future buys,” adds Patrick Park, vice president for photovoltaic sales. TEC 3i has started full-scale production. Tecstar had introduced successive generations of solar cell technologies and powered the IRIDIUM constellation and a significant segment of the world’s direct broadcast satellites. “In recent years, Tecstar has introduced advanced product development and manufacturing methods, taken from the compound semiconductor world, to support a successful entry into the optoelectronics market,” says Frank Ho. “Our record performance currently offered is just the beginning point for this technology.”