Spire Produces Most Efficient Large Area CPV Cell

Spire Corporation announced its wholly owned subsidiary, Spire Semiconductor, LLC, has matched the current efficiency record for a concentrator solar cell.

The record efficiency is available on a production ready cell with a photo area of 1.0 cm². The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) measured the efficiency of 41.0% at 500x suns concentrated sunlight.

Spire Semiconductor began working with NREL under an 18-month, $3.7 million cost share subcontract in early-2009. The goal is to develop a triple junction, gallium arsenide (GaAs), 42.5% conversion efficient “Triathlon” concentrator cell for concentrator photovoltaic systems.

“This is truly an achievement,” said Roger Little, chairman and CEO of Spire Corporation. “We have experienced continuous improvement in our proprietary cell processing design technology throughout the NREL contract. We are excited to have matched the current world record efficiency, and we have nearly four months remaining under the subcontract to surpass this level and achieve the target 42.5% efficiency. A more efficient concentrator solar cell will provide a lower cost and more reliable source of solar generated electricity.”

Spire also announced that Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has once again selected Spire’s world class SPI-Sun Simulator 4600SLP as a standard to test and certify PV modules. Already in use at UL facilities in the United States, China, and Germany, the Spire Simulator will now serve as the primary test equipment gauge at the new UL facility in Bangalore, India.

Spire’s proprietary method of controlling the simulator’s pulse or flash length, large irradiance range, and superior spectral control, allow test labs the ability to measure modules beyond their own test standards and understand critical aspects of their performance.

“We have set the bar very high with our SPI-Sun Simulators,” Little said. “I am pleased to know that test agencies such as UL, NREL, TÜV, FSEC, CSA, KIER, Intervac, and Bodycote all use our simulators as their standard.”

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