In a recently published solar cell manufacturing research paper, scientists at Boeing's subsidiary Spectrolab said that they have developed solar cells that exceed the milestone 40% efficiency limit, 40% efficiency is the highest efficiency that all optoelectronic devices can achieve. .
Their research results are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Applied Physics.
The most commonly used solar cells today, such as solar cells that provide auxiliary power for homes and buildings, are single-junction silicon solar cells that rely solely on the sun. These solar cells can only take advantage of the natural light intensity produced by the sun, and their optimal efficiency is limited to a relatively narrow range of photon energies.
Spectrolab's research team conducted experiments on concentrator multijunction solar cells, using lenses to focus sunlight to obtain high-intensity sunlight. It is clear that multi-junction solar cells can also utilize daylight with a wider range of wavelengths, which is more efficient than single-junction solar cells.
Dr. Richard R. King, a principal investigator of the research and development of this high-efficiency solar cell, said that because they can use a new grade of deformed semiconductor material, the multi-junction solar cell has more freedom to optimize the conversion of solar spectrum. Therefore, these results are particularly encouraging. The best performance of these materials suggests that there will be more efficient solar cells in the future.
In the design, a multi-junction solar cell divides the solar spectrum into three smaller blocks by using the energy band gap of the three sub-cells. Each subcell can effectively convert light into current. Its conversion efficiency has reached 40.7% after measurement, and the deformed multi-junction concentrating solar cell surpasses the theoretical limit of 37% of the single knot 1000 times sunlight.
However, Spectrolab's main business is to supply photovoltaic cells and solar panels to the aerospace industry (they have many solar cells for orbital satellites). The company expects this breakthrough to be applied to commercial solar power on the ground. Spectrolab scientists also predict that using more than three PN junctions and improving materials and design will achieve a theoretical efficiency of 58%, which means that concentrating solar cells can be more than 45% efficient, even in the future. 50%.
Part of the research funding for this high-performance solar cell research is sponsored by the US Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Laboratory. The study will play an important role in the Sunshine America program. Sunshine America plans to make solar power more competitive in price than traditional power generation in 2015. The company said that these solar cells will help concentrator manufacturers to make power generation more competitive than today's traditional power generation methods.
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