39.5% Efficiency For Triple-Junction Solar Cells

NREL Claims Highest Efficiency 1-Sun Solar Cell Using Quantum Wells

39.5% Efficiency For Triple-Junction Solar Cells

  • NREL has achieved 39.5% power conversion efficiency for a new solar cell under standard-1 sun conditions
  • Of the 3-junction solar cell used, the team optimized the middle layer developing optically thick quantum well devices
  • The team sees these cells as useful for low-radiation environments as space applications

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced 39.5% efficiency for a new solar cell it has created calling it the highest efficiency solar cell of any type, measured using standard-1 sun conditions.

This beats the 39.2% efficiency record claimed by the lab in 2020 for a six-junction solar cell using III-V materials, it says.

For the new triple-junction inverter metamorphic multijunction (IMM) architecture-based cell, the NREL scientists developed a quantum well cell with ‘unprecedented performance’ and implemented it into a device with 3 junctions with different bandgaps. The 3 junctions are made up of gallium indium phosphide (GalnP) on the top, gallium arsenide (GaAs) with quantum wells in the middle, and lattice-mismatched gallium indium arsenide (GalnAs) at the bottom.

To achieve the 39.5% efficiency, the researchers worked on the middle layer, developing optically thick quantum well devices that they claim came without major voltage loss.

Researchers see the cell best suited for low-radiation environments as space applications, but with further development of the cell structure, these cells can be used for high-radiation applications. “The new cell is more efficient and has a simpler design that may be useful for a variety of new applications, such as highly area-constrained applications or low-radiation space applications,” said a Senior Scientist in NREL’s High-Efficiency Crystalline Photovoltaics (PV) Group and Principal Investigator on the project, Myles Steiner.

Titled Triple-junction solar cells with 39.5% terrestrial and 34.2% space efficiency enabled by thick quantum well superlattices, the research paper has now been published in scientific journal Joule.

Back in April 2020, NREL fabricated a 6-junction solar cell to achieve 47.1% efficiency calling it the highest under concentrated illumination (see NREL Claims Close To 50% Efficiency For 6 Junction Solar Cell).

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.

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