Sharp accomplishes 35.8% solar cell efficiency


Sharp has released reports of a solar cell conversion efficiency that reaches 35.8% using a triple-junction compound solar cell. The company reached its breakthrough as part of a research and development initiative supported by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization on the theme of “R&D on innovative solar cells”. Contrasting from the common used silicon-based solar cells, the compound solar cell uses photo-absorption layers, which are made from a composite of two or more elements such as indium and gallium. For the past nine years, Sharp has been researching and developing a triple-junction compound solar cell that reaches high conversion efficiency by stacking three photo-absorption layers.

When it comes to triple-junction compound solar cells, to improve their efficiency it’s important to enhance the crystallinity in each photo-absorption layer. It is equally vital that the solar cell be made of materials that can maximize the effective use of solar energy. In the past germanium was used as a bottom layer because of its ease of manufacturing, but while germanium produces a large amount of current, the majority of what is produced is wasted and therefore not effectively used for electrical energy.

Sharp solved this problem by forming the bottom layer from indium gallium arsenide (inGaA), a matter with high light utilization efficiency. While the process to make such an efficient bottom layer from InGaAs with high crystallinity was difficult, Sharp did just so by using its technology for forming layers. This resulted with the total wasted current being diminished while the conversion efficiency, which had previously been 31.5% in Sharp’s cells, to be increased to 35.8%.

The 35.8% conversion efficiency was confirmed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology this past September.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Read Next

July 12, 2024
PV Tech spoke with Helena Li at the Intersolar Europe 2024 event, about how Trina is looking to ensure effective operations.
July 12, 2024
Canadian asset owner Brookfield has acquired a majority stake in Indian clean power company Leap Green Energy in a US$200 million equity investment.
July 12, 2024
China started conducting a trade and investment barrier investigation on the measures used in the EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FAR).
July 12, 2024
Even though the solar PV market in Ecuador is currently non-existent, with only a few projects operational and mostly in the distributed generation market, it is about to take off, says José Luis García Pérez, Latin America’s CEO at Spanish developer Zelestra, formerly known as Solarpack.
July 12, 2024
Swiss Utility BKW Energie AG has sign a power purchase agreement with food and beverage company Nestlé in Germany.
July 12, 2024
IRENA has found that the world’s renewable power capacity will need to increase by 16.4%, year-on-year, to meet the world’s climate targets.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Solar Media Events
October 15, 2024
Santiago, Chile