SunPower sets new world record for solar cell efficiency

A Californian-based high-efficiency solar cell manufacture has set a new world record for solar cell efficiency, confirmed by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) this week.

The full-scale solar cell produced at SunPower’s manufacturing plant in the Philippines has a sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 per cent, beating the previous record of 23 per cent held by electronics giant Sanyo since May 2009.

The strive to increase cell efficiency is huge for the solar industry as it means solar panels can produce more energy from the same amount of sunlight, thus improving solar PV panel appeal as a cost-effective, sustainable and prolonged energy source for homes and businesses.

Bill Mulligan, Vice President of Technology and Development at SunPower, said: “”This new world record demonstrates SunPower’s ability to extend our lead in manufacturing the world’s highest efficiency solar cells.

“Our patented and proprietary, high-efficiency solar cell technology drives down the cost of solar energy by increasing the energy production from each solar panel.”

SunPower says it is now set to establish itself as a leader in high-performance solar power products with higher conversion efficiency leading to improved silicon utilization for the use in cosumer solar PV panels.

The firm’s Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Dr Richard Swanson, added: “As we celebrate SunPower’s 25th anniversary this year, I am thrilled to see the company achieve technology milestones that were inconceivable only a few years ago.

“SunPower’s research and development and engineering teams have increased cell efficiency by a full four percentage points over the last five years while radically driving down manufacturing costs. We are extremely proud of their continued success.”

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