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24 March 2017

New Solar Panel Breaks Records With 26.3% Efficiency

A new record-breaking solar cell has been developed by researchers in Japan, able to absorb 26.3 per cent of sunlight energy it receives, converting it into renewable power. The advanced solar panel is made of silicon, and is a step up from standard solar panels commercially sold at present; most converting around 15% of the sun’s energy into electricity.

The researchers behind the new panel have also developed the possibility of a panel reaching maximum efficiency said to be theoretically possible at 29.1 per cent. The researchers said that further analysis  “pinpoints a path to approach the theoretical conversion efficiency limit of Si solar cells, 29.1 per cent”, as reported by UK Construction Week.

The previous record for solar cell advances was one at 25.6 per cent efficiency, so despite the new cells being only a small development by numbers, the potential for further improvements is huge, with more and more renewable sources replacing the use of harmful fossil fuels.

The team behind the impressive new cell from Kaneka Corporation in Osaka said:

“Improving the photo-conversion efficiency of silicon solar cells is crucial to further the deployment of renewable electricity.

“Essential device properties such as lifetime, series resistance and optical properties must be improved simultaneously to reduce recombination, resistive and optical losses.

“Here, we use industrially compatible processes to fabricate large-area silicon solar cells ... the photo-conversion efficiency is over 26 per cent.”

The new record-breaking solar cells aren’t yet available to buy commercially, as ‘further work is required before the individual cells can be assembled into a commercially available solar panel’ as the Nature website’s statement says.

The use of renewable sources like solar power are all being used in a bid to ultimately cut down the effects of global warming and lower the rate at which the earth’s temperature is rising. Google have recently launched Project Sunroof all over the US, which calculates the effectiveness of solar energy for homes and buildings, depending on location, weather patterns etc.

The popularity of solar power is rising, with Clean Technica reporting that in 2015, solar power passed 1% of global electricity demand, and three European countries – Italy, Germany and Greece, supplied 7% of their electricity demand through solar power. 

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.