San Jose Solar Company Breaks Efficiency Record for PV | KCET
San Jose Solar Company Breaks Efficiency Record for PV
Solar Junction, a San Jose-based manufacturer of concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) cells, announced Monday that it had broken the world record for energy efficiency of a production solar cell. According to the company, it measured a record 44% rate of conversion of sunlight to electrical energy in its cells, a result that has been verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
CPV modules use optics such as lenses or mirrors to concentrate the sun's light on small, highly efficient photovoltaic cells. The 44% efficiency achieved by Solar Junction's cells is about twice that in readily available flat-panel PV modules. The previous record of 43.5% set in April 2011, was also held by Solar Junction's cells.
"Breaking our own world record cements Solar Junction as an innovator and leader in the multi-junction cell space," Vijit Sabnis, VP Technology at Solar Junction, said in a press release. "We continue to push technological boundaries to further drive CPV costs down."
The PV component of Solar Junction's solar cells use "multijunction" technology, in which several layers of photovoltaic material are stacked, each one sensitive to a different band of light wavelengths. The cells are made with III-V semiconductors as the photovoltaic element: III-V semiconductors are those made of compounds of elements in the boron and nitrogen "families."
Though flat-panel photovoltaics are hard to compete with on price alone, SolarJunction aims to bring its products power conversion efficiency to the point where it can compete on a dollars-per-kilowatt basis with thin film PV, which offer real-world efficiencies as low as 1/3 that of Solar Junction's products. Other CPV companies like Amonix have learned this the hard way. Solar Junction points out that converting more sun into electricity could mean less land use for PV arrays -- though cheaper, more efficient modules could just as easily mean more land converted to PV power production. Still Solar Junction's breakthrough offers the possibility of better integration of power generation into more fragmented urban landscapes. As Solar Junction has just acquired a new round of financing, and plans to launch a manufacturing plant in the Bay Area in 2013, it may well make the possibility a reality.
For ongoing environmental coverage in March 2017 and afterward, please visit our show Earth Focus, or browse Redefine for historic material.
KCET's award-winning environment news project Redefine ran from July 2012 through February 2017.
The Woolsey Fire, which erupted Thursday afternoon, has destroyed at least 150 homes and forced the evacuation of 75,000 homes and 200,000 people in both counties as it indiscriminately consumed multi-million dollar mansions and mobile homes. The flames t
The arts, athleticism, martial arts and racial politics all interplay with concepts of failure and success. UCLA professors David Gere, Valorie Kondos Field, Janet O'Shea and Lorrie Frasure-Yokley discuss "What is Failure?"
Here are five historic sites along our shores where you can explore the ruins of our recreation, our coastal defense, and even a maritime disaster.
Former insurance salesman turned radio evangelist Curtis Howe Springer successfully transformed a seemingly barren patch of desert now known as Zzyzx into a bustling business, selling snake oil and salvation. It was his success that led to his downfall.
- 1 of 102
- next ›