The four year old California based startup company ‘Solar Junction’ has added a feather of success to its cap. They marked a new record of cell efficiency of 43.5%. This record beats all other previous records and the achievement was confirmed by the renowned National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Measurement and Characterization Laboratory.
The company uses an age old technology of using multi-junction cells which is used in spacecrafts and for generating electricity in desert areas. Their design incorporated several layers of photo-voltaic cell layered onto a gallium arsenide substrate. Gallium arsenide is known to increase the efficiency. These layers convert a portion of the light to electrical energy. The amount of sunlight entering the 5.5mm photo-voltaic cells was enhanced by using mirrors. The mirror concentrated the light entering the cells minimizing loss of light thus achieving a breaking record of 43.5% efficiency. This percentage of efficiency was achieved at 400 suns and lasted constant till 1000 suns.
This breakthrough is expected to attract companies which manufacture concentrating solar photo-voltaic (CPV) collectors as the design makes use of gallium arsenide substrate which increases efficiency.
Solar Junction is aiming to expand their production to 250 megawatts and to start shipping commercial cells within a year. They are seeking a Department of Energy loan guarantee to move ahead in this direction.