Scientists develop world’s most efficient solar cells

October 24th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 24 (IANS) Australian scientists have created what is arguably the world’s most efficient silicon solar cells. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence already held the world record of 24.7 percent for silicon solar cell efficiency.

Now a revision of the international standard by which solar cells are measured, has delivered the significant 25 percent record to the team led by Martin Green and Stuart Wenham.

Centre’s executive research director Martin Green said the new world mark in converting sunlight into electricity was one of six new world records claimed by UNSW for its silicon solar technologies.

He said the jump in performance leading to the milestone resulted from new knowledge about the composition of sunlight, according to an UNSW release.

“Since the weights of the colours in sunlight change during the day, solar cells are measured under a standard colour spectrum defined under typical operational meteorological conditions.”

“Improvements in understanding atmospheric effects upon the colour content of sunlight led to a revision of the standard spectrum in April. The new spectrum has a higher energy content both down the blue end of the spectrum and at the opposite red end with, dare I say it, relatively less green,” said Green.

UNSW’s world-leading silicon cell is now six percent more efficient than the next-best technology, Green said. The new record also inches the UNSW team closer to the 29 percent theoretical maximum efficiency possible for first-generation silicon photovoltaic cells.

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