Pencil Point Size Solar Cells Set New Module Cost & Performance Benchmarks

By: | December 3rd, 2014

Solar Cells Boost Renewable Energy

Solar cells, solar panels,solar arrays and solar batteries have been under development for many years. And improving efficiency, verified by third parties, is what solar power manufacturers strive for.

Recently a company called Semprius, with production facilities in North Carolina, achieved 39.9% efficiency in converting light that hits solar panels into electricity; the results were achieved according to Concentrator Standard Test Conditions (CSTC). Most currently manufactured silicon panels average 15% to 20% efficiency.

Semprius broke the old record of 32% efficiency for high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar panels. Semprius’ panels use gallium arsenide, rather than silicon, for turning sunlight into electricity, producing 30% to 40% more energy than current technology.

While Semprius creates semi conductor materials in a conventional manner it combines materials and manufacturing techniques in novel ways resulting in pencil point sized GaAs single junction microcells grown in multilayer epitaxial assemblies.

Scalable, Salable & Super Efficient

According to Semprius, it’s technology will allow solar panels to produce electricity at about five cents per kilowatt hour. At this cost mainstream power plants will find this technology attractive allowing solar energy to achieve “grid parity”.

Semprius has estimated that a 1 MW solar power plant could be built for about $1.5 million and serve 300 to 500 homes. The company is currently building approximately 6 MW of electricity producing solar panels per year and is gearing up to increase this amount to 200 MW per year.

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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