Researchers at Sharp Corp. have made another breakthrough in the constant pursuit of more powerful and efficient solar power. They’ve managed to create a solar cell capable of converting a record 44.4% of incoming sunlight into electricity.
This currently takes the overall world record for the highest level of solar cell efficiency. The last record of 44.0% was made in November 2012 by the NREL-III-V Multijunction Photovoltaics Group.
As noted by Cleantechnica, the solar cell is a “concentrator triple-junction compound,” which uses lenses to focus sunlight. It is through photoabsorbing indium and gallium layers that the high level of efficiency is achieved.
The downside is that as of right now, a product made through this process would not be cost-competitive in the current market. These types of cells are often used where the need for efficiency trumps the need for a low price, such as in space satellites and related applications. Over time, the technology may be used to advance solar projects used in space exploration, and may lead to more efficient household solar technologies in the future.
At this pace, it might not be long until we see solar cells with an impressive 50% conversion rate.
Image CC licensed by Allan Henderson: Sharp solar panels