Sharp Boosts PV Efficiency

Sharp Corporation has introduced into the Japanese market a new single-crystal (PV) module. The NT-167AK achieves a conversion efficiency of 17.4 percent, making it the world’s most efficient PV module designed for residential applications, according to the company.

Tokyo, Japan – April 23, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Sharp Corp. said these features and efficiency figures are based on data as of April 21, 2003, among PV modules mass-produced for terrestrial use. Innovations in PN-junction technology and electrode design, as well as lower interconnect resistance between solar cells within modules, etc., have led to the world’s highest module conversion efficiency. This achievement makes it possible to install a 3 kW PV generating system in an area of just 17.3 m2, the smallest surface area requirement in the industry. Sharp plans to promote the use of these modules in “zero-energy houses” which demand higher power generating capacities using only limited roof surface area, and will work to encourage the widespread adoption of PV power generating systems for homes having small-surface-area roofs, which make up the majority of residences in urban areas. Some of the product highlights and features: 1. Enables constructing 3 kW systems with the smallest installation area requirements in the industry. Using the NE-130AJ PV Module (polycrystalline), the predecessor model that was previously Sharp’s main seller, installing a 3 kW system required 23.1 m2 of surface area (24 modules yielding 3.12 kW). But using this new NT-167AK module, a system can be installed in 17.3 m2 of area (18 modules yielding 3.01 kW). This is the industry’s smallest installation surface area* for a 3 kW system, and is equivalent to an approximately 25 percent reduction in surface area compared to using Sharp’s earlier PV modules. 2. Module conversion efficiency of 17.4 percent, the world’s highest, thanks to innovations in efficiency-boosting technologies. These modules feature a conversion efficiency of 17.4 percent, the world’s highest according to the company. This achievement was made possible by minimizing module interconnect resistance losses, as well as implementing a variety of technologies designed to boost solar cell efficiency including developing high-performance PN-junction technology that reduces leakage currents and generating current losses, and reducing resistance losses by structuring electrodes to have a finer line geometry and greater film thickness.

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