Solar On Steroids: Concentrating Photovoltaics Hit US

Helios Solar LLC in partnership with Vibrant Solar, Inc. has announced today the release of what they claim is the highest efficiency solar photovoltaics in the world: the SunCube Mark 9.2 module, which boasts nearly twice the output of conventional PV panels.

Developed in Australia utilizing technology found in satellites and spacecraft for over a decade, the heart of the SunCube design is the junction gallium arsenide cell. These special cells consist of three different layers which allow the module to convert visible, infrared and ultraviolet light into electricity (as opposed to the silicon cells of conventional PV, which only make use of part of the visible spectrum.) Chips are housed in a specialized ground mounted dual axis tracking system which optimizes the available sunlight and concentrates intense sunlight on them, resulting in a 31% efficient PV.

image via Helios Solar, LLC

image via Helios Solar, LLC

An added bonus is that the SunCube works in high temperatures where other PVs fail, according to Denver-based Helios, which currently has the exclusive license on this Australian innovation. It also means that fewer solar modules are be required to produce enough electricity to power a home or commercial business, with lower costs–or even a factory, city, or utility, thanks to higher output capabilities.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.