Sharp touts top efficiency with triple-junction cell

Sharp Corp. says it has developed the most efficient nonconcentrated solar cell: a 35.8% efficient (research level) triple-junction compound solar cell.

October 28, 2009 – Sharp Corp. says it has developed the most efficient non-concentrated solar cell: a 35.8% efficient (research level) triple-junction compound solar cell.

Such compound solar cells use photoabsorption layers made from elements such as indium and gallium, and are mainly used for applications such as satellites. Germanium is conventionally used as the bottom layer, but most of the current it generates is wasted, the company notes; forming the bottom layer from InGaAs with high light utilization efficiency can solve this, but making high-quality InGaAs with high crystallinity process is difficult.

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(Source: Sharp Corp.)

Sharp now says it has formed an InGaAs layer with a proprietary layer-forming technology, minimizing wasted current; the result is a cell (1cm2) with conversion efficiency boosted from 31.5% to 35.8%, a mark it says is confirmed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). The company plans to commercialize the technology within the next three years for use on space satellites and other “special equipment.”

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