Record-Breaking Solar Cell Efficiency At 39.5% – Thanks To The Quantum Realm

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As shown in a new research, a group of scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory – US Department of Energy has developed a solar panel with a record performance of 39.5% under a worldwide illumination of one sun, shattering the record holder for solar cell efficacy.

Results of 47.1% have been achieved in prior prototype solar cells, but it’s important to remember that these did so amidst very focused light. Utilizing multi-junction concentrator solar panels produced at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, scientists broke the performance milestone in 2019 with about 47.1%.

Additionally, the solar panel was examined for its ability to supply communications satellites, which need high cell efficacy. It was shown to be 34.2% efficient under these settings.

There is a range of potential uses that might benefit from the novel cell’s more optimal technology, such as those involving limited space or low-radiation environments.

In the intermediate layer, the scientists employed “quantum wells,” which allowed them to reach the new world-record efficiencies.  As many as 300 quantum dots were crammed into the central layer of this photovoltaic array, making it much more efficient in total.

Even so, the cost of creating these cells is high, a problem that currently exists in the green energy sector. Prior to widespread usage of the revolutionary cell, scientists will have to lower costs and discover new applications.

If you are considering switching over to solar energy, it’s actually a very easy process. The technology has gotten better and more affordable, but the concept is still the same. By shying away from traditional electricity sources, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and make a little green by doing so. So why not switch over to solar power? It will pay off in the end.

William Reid
A science writer through and through, William Reid’s first starting working on offline local newspapers. An obsessive fascination with all things science/health blossomed from a hobby into a career. Before hopping over to Optic Flux, William worked as a freelancer for many online tech publications including ScienceWorld, JoyStiq and Digg. William serves as our lead science and health reporter.