The scientists at Spectrolab, a division of Boeing, say they’ve begun mass production of a new terrestrial solar panel said to have an average conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent. This would make it the the industry’s highest-efficiency cell for solar power if it holds true to this statement.
The C3MJ+ concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cell is said to be an improvement over the C3MJ cells currently in production, which convert 38.5 percent of the sun’s rays into energy. The current C3MJ series entered production in mid-2009, with more than 2 million having been sold worldwide for use.
Spectrolab is not new to developing high-efficiency solar cells; the company said last year it set a new world record for efficiency with a test cell that peaked at 41.6 percent. It is using what is essentially the same technology in the C3MJ+, of which the first units should be ready in January.
The company’s solar cells have powered satellites since 1958, with some 60 percent of all satellites orbiting the Earth, as well as the International Space Station, having these cells in place today. Spectrolab expects to achieve a 40 percent average production efficiency for terrestrial solar cells in 2011.
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