World record set for efficiency of solar modules

3rd Feb 2012

A new world record has been set in the solar module market, as Semprius takes the award for the greatest efficiency of its systems.

The innovator in high-concentration photovoltaic solar modules achieved 33.9 per cent efficiency in the active area, after tests were conducted in standard conditions.

Instituto de Energia Solar conducted the assessment at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, with the results verified by outdoor measurements made at the Institute of Concentration Photovoltaic Systems in Puertollano, Spain.

Before the latest world record was awarded, the previous best efficiency rate stood at 32 per cent.

Scott Burroughs, vice-president of technology at Semprius, explained that this was a significant achievement for both the organisation and the whole of the solar photovoltaic industry.

He continued: "For the first time, we have been able to convert more than one-third of the sun's energy into usable electricity.

"This demonstrates how concentrated PV can leverage rapidly increasing efficiencies to continue driving down the cost of solar-generated electricity."

Joe Carr, chief executive officer of Semprius, noted that the company endeavours to bring smart design to the solar energy industry.

In this case, this was achieved by looking at all the individual components of the module, including everything from the enclosure to the cells, the optics and even the manufacturing process.

He stressed that it is important to many customers that the system chosen for the third-party evaluation will be made available on the commercial market later this year.

The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has been supportive of the module's production, with Semprius now increasing the deployment of demonstration systems.

A pilot plant is currently being constructed in Henderson, North Carolina, with production expected to get underway in the second half of this year.

The development of solar electricity is coming to the fore in Australia at the moment, as a leading figure in the industry was recognised for his efforts on Australia Day (January 26).

Professor Martin Green of the University of New South Wales was made a Member of the Order of Australia, which acknowledges his outstanding achievements and services to the country.

He was particularly commended for his service to science education, particularly through the development of solar panel technology, as well as for his work with professional associations.

Speaking to the ABC, he said that the success of solar power in Germany should serve as an example to Australia in its efforts to become greener.

Posted by Bob Dawson


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