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28 April 2016

Alta Devices sets 31.6% one-sun solar cell efficiency record

Alta Devices of Sunnyvale, CA, USA (a Hanergy company) has set a new solar energy conversion efficiency record of 31.6% for a one-sun cell, using its most recent dual-junction solar cell, as measured and certified by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This is the seventh overall solar efficiency record set since 2010 by Alta Devices, which now holds both the dual-junction and single-junction records (at 31.6% and 28.8%, respectively).

Alta has achieved the increase in efficiency by modifying its basic 'single-junction' gallium arsenide (GaAs) technology (which the firm is currently shipping in production). The firm's dual-junction technology builds on the basic GaAs approach, but implements a second junction with indium gallium phosphide (InGaP). Because InGaP uses high-energy photons more efficiently, the new dual-junction cell generates more electricity from the same amount of light than a single-junction device.

Alta notes that, due to its unique thinness and flexibility, its solar technology is of particular interest in the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) market. The increased power-to-weight ratio enables greatly different possibilities for an aircraft using this technology versus any other types of solar power, it is claimed.

As an example, on a typical HALE (high altitude long endurance) UAV aircraft, Alta's solar material requires less than half of the surface area and weighs a quarter as much while providing the same amount of power as competing thin-film technologies, says Alta Devices. Such savings open UAV designers to alternative design options. Additional batteries can be installed on the vehicle, providing longer operational life spans and flight times than originally considered. Alternatively, payload functionality can be tailored for higher-speed or longer-distance wireless communications. Either of these design optimizations translate into a considerable increase in economic value to the aircraft operator, the firm adds.

"Our goal has always been to enable solar power to be useful in configurations and applications that have never before been possible," says chief marketing officer Rich Kapusta. "The UAV application is an important example."

Alta Devices also provides solar technology for other applications including wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to eliminate the need for battery replacement or recharging.

See related items:

Hanergy to build 10MW plant in Wuhan for Alta's flexible GaAs solar cells

Alta Devices cooperating with Airware to integrate solar power into small UAVs

Alta Devices enables UAVs

Hanergy completes acquisition of GaAs thin-film PV firm Alta Devices

NREL reports record 31.1% efficiency for two-junction solar cell under one-sun illumination

Alta's new dual-junction solar cell sets 30.8% efficiency record

Tags: Alta Devices GaAs PV Hanergy

Visit: www.altadevices.com

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