Solar cells hit new efficiency record at 23.2%

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) - There is hope that one day you will be able to power most of your household through solar cells covering the roof of your home and not just a few appliances.  

Researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology and Fraunhofer Institute said they were able to increase the efficiency of their solar cells from 21.9% to 23.2% through an ultra-thin layer (approximately 30 nanometer) of aluminum oxide that was placed on the front of a crystalline silicon solar cell. The scientists said that their discovery will make its way into commercial products and mentioned that a “number of major solar cell manufacturers have already shown interest” in the technology.

Typical solar cells in production today are claimed to be about 15-17% efficient at converting sunlight into electrical energy. However, there are high-end, limited availability devices that are used in science applications that are claimed to achieve about 40% efficiency today.