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31 October 2012

Amonix raises module efficiency record from 30.3% to 33.5%

Amonix Inc of Seal Beach, CA, USA, which makes utility-scale concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems using III-V multi-junction solar cells, says that its systems can now convert more than one third of direct sunlight into electricity.

In May, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) confirmed an outdoor operating efficiency rating of 33.5% for an Amonix module, breaking the previous record of 30.3% (also held by Amonix). Over several days of on-sun testing conducted by NREL, the module efficiency peaked at 34.2% - the highest efficiency ever reported under real-world operating conditions for a solar PV module, it is reckoned.

“CPV offers the highest efficiencies of all solar technologies in the right operating conditions with plenty of headroom,” says founder & chief technology officer Vahan Garboushian. “Amonix is focused on driving CPV costs down and breaking efficiency records in the near future,” he adds. 

The firm says that the record module efficiency is now internationally recognized in the most recent Solar Cell Efficiency tables publication, Version 40, released in August. Sarah Kurtz, Reliability Group Manager at NREL, also cites the efficiency rating in her 2012 annual ‘state of the CPV industry’ publication ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Development of a Mature Concentrating Photovoltaic Power Industry’.

“While the mainstream PV industry has made critical reductions in large-scale production costs and incremental improvements in power-conversion efficiencies, much of the world is unaware of the dramatic progress that has been made by CPV companies toward achieving high power-conversion efficiencies,” says Kurtz. “Achievement of >33.3% efficiency for a commercial module is an important milestone - the Department of Energy once targeted this goal (‘One-third of a sun’) for a major initiative,” she adds. “It is exciting to see this goal accomplished, especially in light of the opportunities for further efficiency improvements and the expectation of low costs associated with large-scale manufacturing.”

Tags: Amonix CPV


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