A triple-junction compound solar module with a conversion efficiency of 31.17% has been created by a project involving Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Sharp.
NEDO announced last week that the efficiency was recorded as part of an ongoing series of efforts to reduce the cost of solar power generation to ¥7 (US$0.06) per kWh by 2030. The non-concentrating solar module was made with solar cells of what NEDO called a “practical size” of roughly 28cm2, put into a 31cm x 31cm (968 cm2) module.
While Sharp has previously achieved an efficiency of 37.9% for an individual PV cell using similar technology, that device had an area of just 1.047cm2. Using a triple junction cell means that the photovoltaic properties of the compounds indium gallium-phosphide (InGaP), gallium arsenide (GaAs) and indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) can be used to capture a wider range of the spectrum of sunlight.
NEDO also said Sharp had been able to improve “uniformity in the surface of the substrate” by optimising manufacturing conditions. The organisation highlighted that the cost reduction and innovation programme, which runs until 2019 having started last year, will continue to chase high conversion efficiencies at lower cost, as well as looking at other areas including R&D into re-use of thin-film materials.
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