Soitec announces record-breaking solar cell efficiency

A group of scientists revealed Monday a record-breaking solar cell which has an efficiency of 44.7%.

This is a world record, beating the previous efficiency level of 44.4%, achieved by a group of researchers at Sharp Corporation.

The efficiency rating calculates how much incoming sunlight is converted into electricity.

After three years of research, the group – which includes the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin – say their new solar cell structure with four solar subcells provides a "major step towards reducing further the costs of solar electricity."

The cells are used in concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) – systems which use less solar cell material than other PV systems.

They are now working to "pave the way to the 50% efficiency roadmap."

Soitec, a French semiconductor manufacturer, announced earlier this month another record breaker: A solar-energy module with 31.8% efficiency – "the highest of any commercial module being mass produced today," according to the company. 

Image from Soitec