Sharp Reaches Record Conversion Efficiency With New Solar Cell

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Solar energy has just made one step forward: Sharp announced that it has developed a solar cell boasting the world’s highest conversion efficiency of 36.9%. This number is 1.1 points higher than for the company’s last cell, which was unveiled in October 2009.

The new 1cm2 solar cell consists of three layers made of indium gallium phosphide, gallium arsenide and indium gallium arsenide (see below). Sharp says it was able to increase the conversion efficiency by using new materials and reducing the resistance of the junctions connecting the layers.

The plans now is to commercialize the solar cell in 2014 for use in “space satellites and for flight craft and land vehicles”.