Soitec Announces 46 Percent Efficient Solar Cell

Concentrating photovoltaic system manufacturer and solar developer Soitec, in conjunction with CEA-Leti both of France along with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany, announced that they have achieved a new world record for the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity.

The record multi-junction solar cell converts 46 percent of the solar light into electrical energy. Multi-junction cells are used in concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems to produce solar electricity in PV power plants, in regions with a large amount of direct solar radiation. Soitec is currently constructing a 44-MW CPV plant in Towsrivier, South Africa. The achievement of a new world record comes just one year after the one previously announced in September 2013 by these French and German partners.

Multi-junction solar cells are based on a selection of III-V compound semiconductor materials. The world record cell is a four-junction cell, and each of its sub-cells converts precisely one quarter of the incoming photons in the wavelength range between 300 and 1750 nm into electricity. When applied in concentrator PV, a very small cell is used with a Fresnel lens, which concentrates the sunlight onto the cell. The new record 46 percent efficiency was measured at a concentration of 508 suns and has been confirmed by the Japanese AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology).

One of the most difficult challenges that had to be met by this cell is the exact distribution of the photons among the four sub-cells, which was achieved through the precise tuning of the composition and thicknesses of each layer inside the cell structure.

Soitec plans to produce a 50 percent efficient cell in the near future and according to the company’s VP of Solar Cell Product Development Jocelyne Wasselin, this new achievement paves the way to do that. “I have no doubt that this successful cooperation with our French and German partners will drive further increase of CPV technology efficiency and competitiveness,” she said in a statement. Wasselin added that Soitec currently employs 25 engineers and technicians at its production line in France that uses bonding and layer-transfer technologies.

Lead image: New record solar cell on a 100 mm wafer yielding approximately 500 concentrator solar cell devices. ©Fraunhofer ISE/Photo Alexander Wekkeli

Untitled Document

Recent Articles

Largest Cherokee County wind farm now under construction

After a 23-year wind farm construction hiatus, work on a 2nd Cherokee County wind farm has begun. Developed...

Nine solar projects go live in Georgia

Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, announced that nine solar projects developed with SolA...

Can Italy strike twice?

Italy’s National Energy Strategy aims to increase wind and solar power’s share of gross final energy consum...

Lekela reaches financial close for its West Bakr Wind project

Lekela announced that it has reached financial close on its first wind project in Egypt, West Bakr Win...

Bernie Sanders’ ‘Green New Deal’ aims to have renewables power homes by 2030

Bernie Sanders wants renewable energy to power U.S. homes and vehicles by 2030 -- and he wants to do it by ...

EVENTS

There is no current content available.
Renewable Energy World's network editors help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S. and the UK, the team is comprised of editors from Pennwell Corporation's myriad of publications that cover renewable energy.

PAST MAGAZINE ISSUE

05/01/2016
Volume 19, Issue 6

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today: