Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SunPower Claims Efficiency Record of 24%

It this works as advertised then we will have the new standard for the industry.  This is twice as good as the competition and must impact everyone.  A large cost component in solar panels is the hardware.  This halves that requirement and easily doubles the capacity of any retrofit on pre existing hardware.
The next big plateau will be the fifty percent mark and that is very much still in the laboratory.  See my recent post on nano solar and nano dots.
The other strategy is cheap printed solar cells whose efficiency is certainly half this or we would have heard of it.
Again they face an inflexible hardware cost base that will be unattractive in the long term.
In the meantime, SunPower is maintaining the high end price structure of an industry leader that can use this advance in order to maintain market share. 

SunPower claims new solar cell efficiency record of 24.2 percent
20:15 June 24, 2010

SunPower Corp. has achieved a world record solar cell efficiency of 24.2 percent

Although we’ve seen sunlight to electricity conversion efficiencies of over 40 percent with multi-junction solar cells in lab environments, most mass-produced cells can only boast a conversion rate of around 15 percent. Now SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar power systems, has claimed a new world record solar cell efficiency of 24.2 percent.

Solar cell efficiency is the rate at which the cells capture and convert sunlight into energy. The 24.2 percent efficiency record for large-scale silicon wafers was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) on a full-scale prototype produced at the SunPower Corp.’s manufacturing plant in the Philippines.

"This new world record demonstrates SunPower's ability to extend our lead in manufacturing the world's highest efficiency solar cells," said Bill Mulligan, vice president of technology and development for SunPower. "Our patented and proprietary, high-efficiency solar cell technology drives down the cost of solar energy by increasing the energy production from each solar panel."

Improved cell efficiency is a much sought after goal of researchers and manufacturers of solar cells as it increases the cost effectiveness of solar cells by allowing the equivalent or greater amount of power to be captured using the same area of solar cells.

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