Scientists in Australia announce solar cells with 40 percent efficiency
Scientists from the University of New South Wales UNSW, Sydney Australia, have made a solar cell efficiency breakthrough. The research team have managed to produce solar cells which convert over 40% of the sunlight hitting them into energy. This is the highest level of efficiency for solar cells ever claimed.
Perhaps surprisingly the new advance doesn’t come from solar cell development but in the way they are employed making use of focussed sunlight. The focussing solution will be of particular benefit to power generating solar towers in Australia but can also be of benefit to others in the solar power industry.
“A key part of the prototype’s design is the use of a custom optical bandpass filter to capture sunlight that is normally wasted by commercial solar cells on towers and convert it to electricity at a higher efficiency than the solar cells themselves ever could. Such filters reflect particular wavelengths of light while transmitting others,” explains a press release published by the UNSW newsroom.
The next step is to move to a pilot stage from the current prototypes. In the not-too-distant future it is hoped that this innovation and other like it will make solar power cheaper and more competitive in the energy marketplace.
The UNSW tests have been independently confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the USA.