Claiming to have developed the the worlds most efficient solar cell, Sharp said that its triple layer cell achieved a conversion efficiency of 36.9 percent.
Based on triple junction compound technology the solar cells are similar to cells that were used in the Mars rovers. Compound solar cells integrate photo-absorption layers that consist of at least two elements. Usually such solar cells are based on relatively expensive materials such as indium and gallium and have been used primarily in limited applications such as satellites.
Sharp said that it intends to transfer the technology not just to aerospace products, but also to much more affordable solar cell products.
The conversion efficiency of 36.9 is impressive, however we are not quite sure it is, in fact, the world record Sharp has “confirmed”. Spire Semiconductor, based in the United States, announced in October 2010 a triple junction cell that had a claimed 42.3 percent efficiency.