Four-junction solar cell sets world efficiency record for CPV module

Four-junction solar cell sets world efficiency record for CPV module

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

"While we announced earlier this year Soitec’s refocus on its core semiconductor materials business, we also decided to keep all assets related to our SmartCell project in the company’s new strategic scope. Indeed, it opens many business opportunities in different kinds of industries for Soitec. In the present case, the SmartCell paves the way for further cost reductions in solar energy, as it can be integrated in a record-efficiency CPV module suitable for mass production. This project demonstrates Soitec’s leadership in the field of innovative semiconductor materials and technologies dedicated to high-performance applications as well as our ability to achieve major breakthroughs," explained Paul Boudre, CEO of Soitec.

CPV modules use Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight onto small, multi-junction solar cells.

For the new world record in module efficiency, SmartCells were integrated in a CPV module employing the same platform as existing CPV modules using traditional three-junction cells. The SmartCells proved to have a superior conversion yield due to their four junctions.

The record module efficiency has been measured indoors and outdoors. More than 10,000 outdoor data sets have been recorded. Fraunhofer ISE performed a detailed analysis and revealed a module efficiency of 38.9 percent ±0.9 percent for a 1,000 W/m² direct normal irradiation and a 25° C cell temperature. The record module has an aperture area of 812 cm2 and uses 36 lenses, secondary optical elements and SmartCells.

As a stand-alone cell prior to being assembled in a CPV module, the SmartCell previously set a world record efficiency of 46.0 percent, as published on December 1, 2014. Developed by Soitec in cooperation with Fraunhofer ISE and CEA-Leti, the technology contains world class expertise from solar cell laboratories and uses the technologies and know-how inherent in Soitec’s Smart Cut and bonding techniques.

SmartCell’s development has been supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry for Environment (through the Magnus project) and by the "’nvestissements d’Avenir’ (‘Invest for the Future’) French government’s investment program (through the Guepard project managed by the French environment and energy management agency – ADEME).

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