ANU and Trina Solar Panels smash solar efficiency targets.

a solar cell

Trina and ANU are making kick-ass solar cells together!

With the start of the NRL (AFL just around the corner), the Spring cycling classics in Europe and as women’s and men’s football and others reach the pointy end of their respective seasons, its a case of too much teamwork is barely enough for your correspondent. However a more important form of teamwork was announced late last month. Chinese solar manufacturers Trina and our very own Australian National University (ANU) have combined to create a new, super conversion efficiency in solar cells. This has the potential to make Trina solar panels even more cost effective.

The current charge down the cost curve has of course been spectacular for Australians.  Cheap but efficient Chinese solar (such as Trina solar panels) are fuelling the incredible take up of solar in Australian households. Approximately one million Aussie households now have a domestic solar energy system on their roofs, a total of around 3GW, which will not only save owners a pile of money in the long term but also help to protect the environment.

But back to the solar cell breakthrough.

Trina announced in their Feb. 28 press release that the new breakthrough was the result of two years research by the ANU. The research was funded by Trina to develop the new, super solar cell capable of delivering a 24.4 percent conversion efficiency, making the cell one of the best performing silicon solar cells in the world.

Dr Pierre Verlinden, Vice-President and Chief Scientist of Trina Solar trots out the familiar “milestone” cliche but it is well warranted.

“We are delighted to collaborate with leading scientists at ANU on this exciting new development in our cell technologies,” he said. “This marks a milestone in solar cell research with an improved IBC cell efficiency of 24.4%.”

With a nod towards the heavy lifting of the ANU Dr Verlinden continues:

“This world-class efficiency demonstrates our commitment to leading innovation in PV technology. We remain committed to engaging in effective partnerships with the best PV research centers, which are fundamental to delivering R&D breakthroughs.”

Professor Andrew Blakers, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the ANU Research School of Engineering goes into a little more satisfactory detail about what the breakthrough will mean for solar punters.

“This is the highest efficiency independently confirmed for a conventional IBC solar cell to date,” he said. “The results mean the laboratory cell technology can now be further developed for commercial solar cells. The work is expected to lead to commercial solar cells with improved efficiency, allowing more power to be generated from a given area of rooftop solar module.”

However in sporting terms (ahem!), if it wasn’t for our very own ANU running the hard yards, chasing down attacks from the peloton and putting the pass into space for Trina to run onto, then the Chinese super solar giant wouldn’t be on the podium.

Trina solar panels will inevitably take an even further stride down the curve of affordability for Australians who have one eye on the future in renewable energy. Australians can therefore be very proud of the work carried out by the ANU. Let’s hope they get the credit (and funding) from our bunch of specialist chair polishers in Canberra and the state capitals. Thoughts people? Please share either below, or over at our Facebook and Google Plus pages.


  1. Marc Talloen says

    “Chinese solar manufacturers Trina and our very own Australian National University (ANU) have combined to create a new, super conversion efficiency in solar cells. This has the potential to make Trina solar panels even more cost effective.”

    Isn’t it a pity that the current government simply ignores the potential of solar in this country which has plenty of sun as an inexhaustible resource? wouldn’t you wish that they would be a little forward thinking and see the potential of using solar energy to unlock drought stricken regions with solar and pumping infrastructure to transfer and distribute water….
    Solar has so many potential applications and this stubborn government prefers to turn back the clock!

    • So everyone knows the difference, the Government (gov) doesn’t ignore Photo Voltaic (PV) options, it blatantly disregards them. Here is why. “If” the vast majority of people had PV cells on their personal properties that were considerably higher in their current output it would diminish Gov ability to raise tax & return on Investment’s on/in the power generation field & subsequently… us (gen pop citizens). The Gov, basically, doesn’t want to cut its revenue arm off (proverbially). On top of this, if larger more congested countries went about using such technologies to increase their own energy output instead of, say “Coal-Power”, we would lose considerable value off some exports. (more things the Gov taxes)
      Short sighted but a true “disregard”. letting them off with ignorance is a free-bee win in their favor. The Gov knows PV is better – they just don’t want to!

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