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Sharp develops solar cell with highest efficiency conversion of 37.7%

Sharp Corporation has set the world record for solar cell conversion efficiency – 37.7 percent – the Osaka-based multinational announced.

The Japanese electronics company said it achieved the breakthrough using a triple-junction compound solar cell wherein photo-absorption layers are piled together.

Compound solar cells use photo-absorption layers made from compounds made up of two or more elements, such as indium and gallium. According to Sharp, the fundamental structure of the triple-junction compound solar cell utilizes the company’s proprietary technology, which allows efficient piling up of the three photo-absorption layers, with indium, gallium and arsenide compound as the bottom layer.

To significantly increase conversion efficiency, Sharp said it capitalized on the ability of the new cell to effectively absorb light from different wavelengths and convert it into electricity.

It also raised the solar cell’s active area or the ratio of the effective light reception area to the total surface area of the cell, for converting light into electricity through optimal processing of the cell edges.

“These improvements led to higher maximum output levels for the solar cell and enable Sharp to achieve a solar cell conversion efficiency of 37.7 percent —the highest in the world,” Sharp stated.

The efficiency rate was confirmed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Over the coming years, Sharp aims to apply the success of this latest development to concentrator photovoltaic power systems that use lenses to collect and convert sunlight into electricity. Likewise, it foresees several other practical applications for the cells, like on space satellites and vehicles. – EcoSeed Staff



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