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The DoE Just Broke the World Record in Solar Cell EfficiencyThe DoE Just Broke the World Record in Solar Cell Efficiency

The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has demonstrated an unprecedented solar cell conversion rate.

Elizabeth Montalbano

January 8, 2015

4 Min Read
The DoE Just Broke the World Record in Solar Cell Efficiency

The Department of Energy (DoE) continues to make gains on research efforts to improve the efficiency of solar cells. The agency’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently achieved an efficiency of 45.7% in a solar cell, one of the highest cell efficiencies achieved to date.

The work surpasses the current world record in efficiency of 44.7% achieved last year by a group of German and French scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti, and the Helmholtz Center Berlin. That research, as well as the NREL's, involved a four-junction solar cell, which means the cell has four p-n junctions, or interfaces, between two types of semiconductor material. The cells harvest sunlight by dividing the solar spectrum into portions and each junction is tuned to a different light wavelength, increasing the efficiency of the overall cell.

A diagram shows the latest in research on solar-cell efficiency and the institutions working on these projects.
Click to enlarge
(Source: Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano

Elizabeth Montalbano has been a professional journalist covering the telecommunications, technology and business sectors since 1998. Prior to her work at Design News, she has previously written news, features and opinion articles for Phone+, CRN (now ChannelWeb), the IDG News Service, Informationweek and CNNMoney, among other publications. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she also has lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and New York City. She currently resides in Lagos, Portugal. Montalbano has a bachelor's degree in English/Communications from De Sales University and a master's degree from Arizona State University in creative writing.

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