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Apr 29th, 2013
 
Sharp develops solar cell with the conversion efficiency of 37.9%
 
Sharp Corporation has achieved the world's highest solar cell conversion efficiency of 37.9% using a triple-junction compound solar cell in which three photo-absorption layers are stacked together.
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Fig 1: Wavelength Distribution of Solar Photo-Energy.
Fig 1: Wavelength Distribution of Solar Photo-Energy.
  • Triple-junction InGaAs/GaAs/InGaP solar cell with the conversion efficiency of 37.9%

Sharp achieved this latest breakthrough as a result of a research and development initiative promoted by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) on the theme of "R&D on Innovative Solar Cells." Measurement of the value of 37.9%, which sets a new record for the world's highest conversion efficiency, was confirmed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

Compound solar cells utilize photo-absorption layers made from compounds consisting of two or more elements, such as indium and gallium. The basic structure of this latest triple-junction compound solar cell uses proprietary Sharp technology that enables efficient stacking of the three photo-absorption layers, with InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide) as the bottom layer.

Fig 1: Wavelength Distribution of Solar Photo-Energy and Wavelength Sensitivity of Triple-Junction Compound Solar Cell.

By optimizing the relative proportions of indium, gallium, and arsenide, Sharp succeeded in increasing the efficiency with which the cell absorbs sunlight at its various wavelengths.

Sharp's aim for the future is to apply this latest development success to concentrator photovoltaic power systems that use lenses to collect and convert sunlight into electricity. The company also foresees numerous other practical applications for the cells, such as on space satellites and vehicles.


 
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