2 February 2018
Hanergy sets 25.1% efficiency record for GaAs solar production modules
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd of Beijing, China says that German solar energy testing laboratory Fraunhofer ISE CalLab PV Modules has rated the newest solar production module of its US-based subsidiary Alta Devices of Sunnyvale, CA, USA as the highest-efficiency single-junction solar module ever produced.
With its record-setting 25.1% conversion efficiency, the module can be used to power a range of products such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), electric vehicles (EVs) and smart sensors that were previously limited by low-efficiency solar solutions.
The accelerating trend toward autonomous machines demands a power source that can be seamlessly recharged and has minimal impact on physical form, notes Hanergy. “Developing sources of power that can be replenished without interruption is increasingly important,” says Alta Devices’ chief marketing officer Rich Kapusta.
“Our goal with this module was to demonstrate world-record efficiency in mass production at commercial scale,” says Dr Jian Ding, senior VP of Hanergy Thin Film and CEO of Alta Devices. “Applications for this type of thin and flexible solar power are becoming broader and more critical.”
Alta’s gallium arsenide (GaAs) modules perform at up to two times that of ordinary flexible solar cells, it is claimed, making them the current world leader in terms of module efficiency for thin-film solar technology. Since 2010, Alta’s GaAs single-junction cells have broken conversion efficiency records four times and still hold the (lab) conversion efficiency record of 28.8%.
Alta’s thin-film solar panels have been applied to a range of different products. On the transportation side, Alta Devices has worked with a European car maker to integrate solar cells into panoramic glass automobile roofs. Also, Alta Devices has made progress towards solving a ‘pain point’ of traditional UAVs by applying the highest-efficiency GaAs thin-film solar cell to develop a UAV with record flight time. In particular, as they are light and flexible, the thin-film panels were integrated into the drone without altering its aerodynamic profile.