Australian Scientists Develop World’s Most Efficient Solar Cell

by , 08/25/09
filed under: Environment, Solar Power

sustainable design, green design, solar power, unsw, australia, solar cell, silicon

The race for the world’s most efficient solar power cell is forever played out in fractions of percentages. The latest victory comes from scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who have concocted a multi-cell combination that converts 43% of sunlight into electricity, besting the previous record of 42.7%!

sustainable design, green design, solar power, unsw, australia, solar cell, silicon

So how did the team break the record? By using a special silicon cell optimized to harness light at the red and near-infrared end of the light spectrum. When the silicon cell was combined with four other cells made from gallium, indium, phosphorous and arsenic, the scientists were able to reach the magic 43% mark.

The same UNSW scientific team has had success before — last year, they broke the record for the world’s most efficient silicon solar cell, achieving 25% efficiency. But the newest record uses a combination of cells that can reach a greater efficiency than any single solar cell.

There are still some kinks to work out before the UNSW multi-cell combo is ready for everyday use. The cells have only been tested under lab conditions, and the non-silicon cells are still too expensive for most potential uses. Still, the record-breaking discovery bodes well for our solar-powered future.

Via Discovery News

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  1. Ben Noonan June 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm


  2. Peter Brooks March 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    must be possible to make lightweight vehicle covered in solar cells and storage shaped like a fish with rear gull wing doors and tour forward driver with computer driven air foils like fins to hold it onto the road in all conditions , cornering etc. brookseeya.

  3. xandry October 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

    New Technology at first can be very expensive, but with time become more accesible. I hope that this and other alternative energy sources become more & more available for us, I hope that very soon, better 4 us all!

  4. DT Bhoye August 4, 2011 at 10:47 am

    The latest victory comes from scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who have concocted a multi-cell combination that converts 43% of sunlight into electricity,

    However, when such type of efficient solar panels will be put in the use of general public for lighting the houses at remote places, for irrigating their fields and utilizing the solar energy for drinking water ?

    DT Bhoye

    Read more: Australian Scientists Develop World’s Most Efficient Solar Cell | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

  5. Boeing Planning Large S... December 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    […] researchers at Spectrolab have even set a world record for solar cell efficiency with a test prototype that peaked at 41.6% – it has been said to be the basis for the solar […]

  6. New Production Process ... July 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    […] solar cells are available in two types — crystalline silicon cells, which are more efficient but more expensive, and amorphous silicon cells, which are less efficient but cheaper and thinner […]

  7. adrianatkins May 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve heard about Organic Semiconductors, and identified Phenathrene and Anthracene (isomer of the other one).
    It turns out that these PAH (Poly Cyclic Hydrocarbon) materials can be produced by the ‘incomplete combustion or organic compounds, and a re ‘phot active semiconductors’.
    I read that as ‘burn some weeds without enough air’. So i tried it.
    The idea was to bubble the smoke from a closed container (with burning weeds in it) thru a bucket of water.
    It didn’t work.
    However, i had used some aluminum foil to cover the hole on the top of my container – about 6″ diameter.
    The smoke/wotever coated it very thinly with some sooty/tarry substance.
    I put the foil in strong sunlight, and by measuring from the un-coated back of the foil and touching here-and-there on the coated side, i got a 0.55v reading on my meter in a few places.
    Can i get a Nobel Prize now ?

  8. Bernman April 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

    When considering the efforts and expense of striving for weapons to destroy, mutilate, and kill other human beings, it is gratifying to see work having the aim of helping mankind. Developing efficient solar cells/panels is a worthy effort, one that can make one proud to a member of the human race.

  9. SUDARSHANA K SHANBHOGUE August 27, 2009 at 1:49 am


  10. chris513 August 26, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    The amount of Energy comparison of 6/7ths is simply not true. It takes 2 years out of a 30-50 year lifespan to produce the energy used to make it. And that is an average which depends on the amount of sunlight hitting the panel. Thats a pretty good return on your investment. This will also vary depending on the techniques used to create the solar panel. Most of these quotes of energy are based on old technology which was designed for making silicon wafers for semiconductors. However, new processes are being developed specifically to meet the needs of solar panels which will make this a more energy efficient process.

  11. aquarian August 26, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    polo, the sun emits more power than a wood pellet. in fact the sun made the wood pellet.

  12. Polo August 26, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Remember, burning wood pellets in a specific oven, is more than 60% efficiency…

  13. PaTrond August 25, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Just get it available for public! =D The sun gives huge amounts of energy per square feet so this is a huge step for mankind! 43% is pretty much actually. But the durability is still left to improve. 6/7 of the energy a solar panel produces during its life was used just to produce the panel.

  14. vcsankar August 25, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    It very useful for knowing the latest technology.

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