24 May 2010


Spire's large-area CPV cell reaches 41% efficiency at 500x suns

Spire Corp of Bedford, MA, USA, which provides capital equipment and turnkey production lines for photovoltaic (PV) module and cell manufacturing, says that its subsidiary Spire Semiconductor LLC has matched the energy conversion efficiency record for a concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cell. The record efficiency is available on a production-ready cell with a photovoltaic area of 1.0cm2.

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) measured the efficiency of 41.0% at 500x suns concentrated sunlight. Spire Semiconductor began working with NREL under an 18-month, $3.7m cost-share subcontract in early 2009. The goal is to develop a triple-junction, gallium arsenide (GaAs), 42.5%-efficient ‘Triathlon’ concentrator cell for CPV systems.

“We have experienced continuous improvement in our proprietary cell processing design technology throughout the NREL contract,” says chairman & CEO Roger G. Little. “We have nearly four months remaining under the subcontract to surpass this level and achieve the target 42.5% efficiency,” he adds. “A more efficient concentrator solar cell will provide a lower-cost and more reliable source of solar generated electricity.”

See related items:

Spire authorized for Phase II of NREL CPV contract

Spire awarded $3.7m NREL program to develop 42%-efficient CPVs

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