Fraunhofer achieves world-record CPV efficiency
A new world-record conversion efficiency for CPV modules, of 36.7%, has been reached through a collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and French CPV developer Soitec, along with the French research centre CEA-Leti, and the Helmholtz Center in Berlin.
Fraunhofer ISE researchers spent the last few years working on a CPV module technology known as FLATCON, utilizing Fresnel lenses to bundle and focus sunlight onto miniature, super-efficient solar cells. The new record was achieved by combining this work with the adaption of a new wafer bonding solar cell structure developed together with Soitec.
By incorporating the said four-junction (GaInP, GaAs, GaInAs and InP) solar cell structure into the Fraunhofer ISE module concept, sunlight can be concentrated “by a factor of 230 suns onto fifty-two 7 mm2 miniature solar cells, with the help of fifty-two 16 cm2 Fresnel lenses.”
“Naturally we are incredibly excited about this high module efficiency. This success shows that the high efficiencies of Soitec’s novel four-junction solar cells can be transferred to the module level.” stated Dr Andreas Bett, who leads the CPV research at Fraunhofer ISE.
Solar Junction acquired by Saudis
Solar Junction, a venture capital-funded solar startup that raised more than $30 million from investors Advanced Technology Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and New Enterprise Associates, has received a financial commitment from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and one of its investment arms, TAQNIA, Greentech Media has reported. The companies, however, declined to comment on the details.
Solar Junction has developed record-setting triple-junction solar cells in the lab for the CPV industry and recorded an NREL-verified 44 percent cell efficiency (at 947 suns) in 2012, which remained a world record until Sharp hit 44.4 percent for its triple-junction solar cell (at 302 suns).