14 April 2011

Solar Junction hits record 43.5% efficiency for CPV production cell

Solar Junction of San Jose, CA, USA, a manufacturer of III-V multi-junction solar cells based on lattice-matched 1eV materials for concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), has set a record of 43.5% energy conversion efficiency for a commercial-ready production cell.

The 5.5mm x 5.5mm production cell tops the existing 42.3% record (achieved last October by Spire Corp) by 1.2% and is much higher than the average efficiency gain achieved by previous record holders. Solar Junction’s cell has a peak efficiency of 43.5% at more than 400 suns but still maintained an efficiency as high as 43% out to 1000 suns, as measured by the Measurement and Characterization Laboratory of the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Picture: Wafer of Solar Junction CPV cells.

Over the past four years, record CPV cell efficiencies have averaged improvements of 0.4% annually. By contrast, over the past nine months Solar Junction has been on a steep efficiency trajectory. This 43.5% achievement comes after the firm reported just in January achieving an NREL-verified 40.9% efficiency, followed in mid-February by 41.4%. These achievements were, in part, supported under the DOE's PV Incubator Program, managed through NREL.

“In the time I’ve been on Solar Junction’s board, the company has hit all of its aggressive efficiency milestones on target,” says Dr Forest Baskett, general partner at New Enterprise Associates. “That ability to deliver and execute sets it apart from the pack and positions it for swift market gains,” he reckons.

“There’s no question that we’ve been on a nine-month tear,” says Solar Junction’s CEO Jim Weldon. “We’ve delivered on milestone after milestone and attribute this to our superior performing technology platform, driven by our dedicated, hard-charging technical team, supported by our integrated in-house manufacturing line that has enabled, and will continue to enable, multiple iterations of product improvement on an accelerated timeline,” he adds.

Founded in 2007 with investors include New Enterprise Associates, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Advanced Technology Ventures, Solar Junction says that its cell, which incorporates proprietary adjustable spectrum lattice-matched A-SLAM technology, enables it to more optimally partition the solar spectrum for maximum efficiency and greater reliability. “With A-SLAM, we have a highly extensible technology that is actually delivering a clear and continued path to higher efficiencies in both the short and long term,” says Weldon. “That bodes well for CPV,” he adds. The firm says that increases in CPV cell efficiencies are a key driver for improving CPV economics, with each cell efficiency gain leveraged and multiplied in value by the components that account for the remaining 80% of total system costs.

In February, Solar Junction made the short-list of finalists selected for post-selection due diligence within the DOE Loan Guarantee Program (LGP). The firm plans to scale in-house manufacturing to 250MW capacity and ship commercial cells within the year.

See related items:

Solar Junction’s commercial-ready CPV cell hits 41.4% efficiency

Spire produces record 42.3%-efficient solar cell

Tags: Solar Junction Multi-junction cell CPV

Visit: www.sj-solar.com

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