Dec. 13, 2006: New Solar Cell Breaks 40 Percent Efficiency Barrier
Researchers have been working toward the "40 percent barrier" for the past two decades. In the 1980s, multi-junction solar cells achieved about 16 percent efficiency, and DOE''s National Renewable Energy Laboratory broke the 30 percent barrier in 1994. Today, most satellites use these multi-junction solar cells, and Spectrolab, a subsidiary of the Boeing Company, recently produced its two millionth solar cell using multi-junction technology. The new Spectrolab cell, developed with DOE funding, could lead to more affordable solar power systems here on earth, costing as little as $3 per watt to install and producing electricity at a cost of 8-10 cents per kilowatt/hour.
Publication date: 12/11/2006