United Solar celebrates record PV conversion
United Solar Systems Corp. has achieved a new world record in converting sunlight to electricity using a thin-film solar cell. The 14.5 percent initial conversion efficiency, announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was achieved on a multijunction, amorphous silicon alloy solar cell. United Solar is a joint venture between Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD) and Canon Inc. “The demonstration of this world-record efficiency is another landmark paving the way for utilization of photovoltaics for applications such as solar roofing shingles and solar metal roofing,” said Stanford R. Ovshinsky, ECD president and CEO.
The research leading to the record was performed under a cost-shared industry/government program, the Thin Film Partnership, funded by DOE and administered by National Renewable Energy Laboratory. United Solar and ECD have been participating in DOE programs since 1987 and have set several world records in cell and panel efficiencies. This latest record was achieved by using a triple-cell approach where the component cells are designed to capture different color photons of the solar spectrum to increase the sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency.