The ever changing world of who has the most efficient solar cell has once again produced a new leader. Today SunPower, a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, said it has developed a “full-scale solar cell with a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 percent.”

This is apparently a new world record for these types of solar cells, as confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). The cell was produced at a manufacturing plant in the Philippines. The reason for the big deal around this, according to SunPower, is that “improved cell efficiency reduces the levelized cost of energy by increasing the energy production from each wafer manufactured” into one of its cells. This in turn “reduces the cost per watt and cost per kilowatt-hour for feedstock and materials, depreciation and other manufacturing expenses, installation time, land and system operations, and related maintenance.”

SunPower Cell
image via SunPower

“This new world record demonstrates SunPower’s ability to extend our lead in manufacturing the world’s highest efficiency solar cells,” said Bill Mulligan, vice president of technology and development for SunPower, in a statement. “Our patented and proprietary, high-efficiency solar cell technology drives down the cost of solar energy by increasing the energy production from each solar panel.”

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